Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has won the Red Auerbach Trophy as NBA Coach of the Year, the league announced Monday.
Williams won by a landslide, landing 81 first-place votes and finishing with 458 points overall in balloting by a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins (17 first-place votes, 270 points) and Miami Heat counterpart Erik Spoelstra (1, 72) finished second and third, respectively.
The award comes a year after Williams finished second in voting, just 11 points behind winner Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks.
This is Williams’ first NBA Coach of the Year Award, and he joins Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-89) and Mike D’Antoni (2004-05) as Phoenix head coaches to earn the honor.
Under Williams, the Suns finished with an NBA-best 64-18 regular-season record and earned the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Along the way, they won a franchise-record 18 consecutive games and they also went 16-0 in November, which was tied for the second-most wins in a month without a loss in league history (the Atlanta Hawks went 17-0 in Jan 2015).
Last month, Williams was honored with the National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award for a second straight season.
Williams, 50, is in his third season in Phoenix and his eighth overall as an NBA coach, including five with the New Orleans Pelicans (2010-15). He’s a career 322-299.
Before the past two seasons under Williams, it had been 10 years since the Suns had finished with at least 50 wins in the regular season, and last year’s NBA Finals trip was their first since Charles Barkley led them there in 1993.
Jenkins led the Grizzlies to a franchise record-tying 56 wins and the second seed in the Western Conference.
Spoelstra, the NBA’s second-longest tenured coach behind Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, piloted the Heat to the best record in the Eastern Conference despite a revolving door of injuries to Miami’s key players.