Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated spoke with Suns GM James Jones and new head coach Monty Williams in a look at the league’s youngest team, owners of a surprisingly competent 11-16 record this season. Phoenix is currently one game behind the Kings for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Williams addressed the tactical changes he has made since his last head coaching position with the Anthony Davis-fronted Pelicans.
“In New Orleans, I made it about me a lot of times. I was a young coach,” Williams allows. “And there was a bit of pride there that got in the way and I had to address that. I don’t want to go that route anymore… We want everybody to feel so excited and good about what we’re trying to do.”
Here’s more from Phoenix:
- In the same conversation with Spears, Jones (who won three titles as a bench shooter for the Heat and Cavaliers) asserts that he wants to make a long-term cultural shift in Phoenix, from perennial loser to perennial title contender. “I’m so deeply focused on the process because I know there’s a process that you have to undertake to become a champion,” Jones tells Spears.
- Kelly Oubre was unsure whether or not he would be leaving the Wizards for the Suns last season after the infamous “Brooks trade” involving Phoenix, Washington and Memphis fell apart. Then, the Suns and Wizards cut out the Grizzlies completely and proceeded to move Oubre to Phoenix. “[At] the end of the day, I want to be great,” Oubre told The Athletic’s Gina Mizell. “I want to… help this organization grow.” The team now cannot picture its rebuild without the 24 year-old small forward, who has emerged as a permanent starter.
- Suns center Deandre Ayton double-doubled in his first game back from a 25-game drug suspension. Ayton scored 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in a 120-99 loss to the Clippers Tuesday. In postgame comments logged by ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Ayton calls testing positive for a diuretic “the biggest mistake and unintentional mistake that happened in my life.” As Youngmisuk writes, Ayton said that he did not appeal the NBA’s suspension because he did not want to be a distraction to his team.