Pros and cons of hiring Monty Williams as the next Bucks head coach

DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 01 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - MAY 01 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns: Monty Williams
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 02 (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The pros of the Milwaukee Bucks hiring Monty Williams

For all his limitations, Monty Williams is a proven winner with a Coach of the Year award in 2020 to show for it. Williams led the Suns to a 64-18 record in the regular season that year, which was the best record in the NBA. Even before that, it was Coach Monty who led the Suns to an 8-0 sweep at the NBA Bubble to push the Suns past the 30-win mark for the first time since the 2014–15 season.

He also led Phoenix to the NBA Finals in 2021 for the first time since 1993. We all know how it ends — but it also started with the Suns taking a commanding 2-0 lead over the Bucks.

The regular season might be just that — as Bucks fans should well know by this point — but at the end of the day, wins are wins. And Williams has shown he can eke them out in bunches against tough opposition.

Let’s talk about his coaching philosophy. Monty Williams is a strong defensive coach, and his former team is all the evidence one needs. The Bucks have struggled on defense in recent years, but Monty could easily help them improve on that end of the floor.

In the recently-concluded 2022-23 regular season, the Phoenix Suns finished seventh in defensive rating (112.3) and sixth in defended field goal percentage, per

Even before that, Phoenix jumped from 29th to 17th in defensive efficiency in Williams’ first season. They never left the top 10 each year since then. Despite the prolific scorers on their roster, defense is where they have frustrated teams the most.

There’s no denying he has a proven record of steering robust defenses in this league. (Even if he did have talented defenders like Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges to execute his schemes.)

Just like those Suns, the Bucks also have players who are capable of guarding multiple positions, and they are all good at getting steals and deflections. They also have smart, snappy help defenders who can rotate on a string and contest shots. Williams would be able to maximize these talents unfettered by a strict adherence to drop coverage.

Secondly, Williams is also a players coach known for his ability to connect with his players and get the best out of them. He is a respected figure in the NBA and would be a great addition to the Bucks’ organization. This is important for a team like the Bucks, who have a lot of young players.

Similar to Bud, Monty also emphasizes the importance of communication, accountability, and trust in his team. It’s clear he wants his players to be able to communicate with each other on the court and trust each other to make the right plays.

It’s also for this reason that a number of young players developed well under Williams’ tutelage.

Mikal Bridges was drafted by the Suns in 2018 and developed into a key contributor on both ends of the floor under Williams’ coaching. In his first season with Williams as head coach, Bridges averaged 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He was also eventually named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Today, he’s a surefire superstar on the Brooklyn Nets.

Cameron Johnson, who was drafted by the Suns the following year, also developed into a reliable shooter and scorer off the bench under Williams. In the 2021-22 season, Johnson averaged 12.5 points per game. He also shot 42.1 percent from 3-point range, which was the second-best mark among players who attempted at least four threes a game.

Williams has shown he can trust young players to play through their mistakes and find ways to win games, something Budenholzer was always lacking. There’s no reason to think he wouldn’t be able to do it again with pieces like MarJon Beauchamp and A.J. Green, who have never been lacking in effort and work ethic.

Overall, Monty Williams would be a solid coach for the Milwaukee Bucks in navigating the post-Budenholzer era. He is a proven winner, a strong defensive coach, and a players coach. He would be a great addition to the Bucks’ organization and could help them get back to the top of the Eastern Conference after a humiliating loss to the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in five games.

At the same time, though, there are also some cons to the Bucks hiring Williams.