Monty Williams now favored to win NBA Coach of the Year honors
The Utah Jazz have been the best team in the NBA this year, but the Phoenix Suns have been the most surprising. They currently have the second best record in the NBA, and head coach Monty Williams deserves a ton of credit for the Suns' success.
Oddsmakers seem to have caught onto that fact as the former small forward is now favored to win NBA Coach of the Year honors with -110 odds as of Monday morning.
NBA Coach of the Year 2020/2021
Tue, June 1 2021, 10:00 AM
Red-hot odds movement
At the beginning of March, Monty Williams had +600 odds to win the 2021 NBA Coach of the Year award. That was before the Suns compiled a stellar 20-7 record, and reeled off impressive wins over the Lakers, Heat, and Jazz, whom they beat in overtime on April 7.
Considering the Suns play in the toughest division in the NBA, it is not surprising that Williams has earned the respect from the oddsmakers for this award. Phoenix is currently ahead of powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors in the divisional standings.
The future is now
The Suns have been building a future around their superstar Devin Booker, but it appears to now be culminating in the present. Phoenix shocked the world last fall in the bubble when it went 8-0 in its final games of the regular season. It was not enough the make the playoffs, but it was enough to garner the league’s respect.
In the offseason, the Suns picked up veterans Chris Paul and Jae Crowder to add to their young nucleus of talent. Booker is the obvious face of the franchise, but other young stars like Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Cameron Payne have stepped up big time.
Ayton is averaging a double-double with 15.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Bridges is shooting 52.6% from the field and 40.5% from three-point range. Payne and Johnson combine to average 17.2 points, 5.0 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
This combined team effort is showing in the day-to-day results for the Suns. Even when Booker has off games like his 4-16 shooting performance against the Miami Heat on April 13, the Suns pick up after their teammates to get big wins. Ayton went for 19 points and 13 rebounds in that game, and the two Camerons combined for 29 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. Chris Paul also only scored five points, but the Suns won this game by 20.
Williams is still the best choice, but don't sleep on Thibs
Is Monty Williams the best betting choice for NBA Coach of the Year? At his previous odds of +600, this would be an easy yes. At his current odds, it's a bit more complicated.
I definitely like Williams, but two other names to keep an eye on are New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, at +175, and Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash, at +2000.
The Knicks, who are 34-27 and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, have been among the biggest surprises this season. The Nets, meanwhile, currently have the fourth best record in the NBA and best record in the East, at 41-21. They are also 2-0 head-to-head against the Suns under their first-year head coach.
Ultimately, I do like Monty Williams as the favorite to win the Coach of the Year honors. However, I would strongly consider Tom Thibodeau at better odds, especially if the Knicks continue their hot streak and finish the season near the top of the Eastern standings.