Former Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach for the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons will be committing $ 72 million over the next 6 years with the opportunity to increase to $ 100 million over 8 years. It appears taking a ride on the NBA’s head coaching carousel has treated Monty Williams well. Looking closely, the current NBA Finals matchup between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat may have something to do with the length of this contract.
How the NBA Finals Helped Monty Williams
The Current Finals
It may be hard to draw parallels between a one-seed and an eight-seed. Besides the fact that they’re both in the NBA Finals, the Nuggets and Heat share something in common that the Pistons may be trying to replicate. Both franchises have an established culture backed up by a tenured coach. On one hand, Michael Malone has been coaching the Denver Nuggets for eight seasons, beginning in the 2013-14 season. He has established connections with his players and has years of developed trust with his core. The Nuggets hierarchy is clear, beginning with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, followed by Michael Porter Jr and Aaron Gordon. The commitment to fit and continuity with this roster has made them feel near bulletproof during this run.
Erik Spoelstra, on the other side, has been with the Miami Heat since the 2008-9 season. Those 15 years have been spent solidifying a hardworking and team-oriented culture that’s widely respected. While not as star-studded as Denver, they have a similarly strong structure. Jimmy Butler is the tip of the spear, anchored by Bam Adebayo, surrounded by gritty shooters and supporting pieces.
Identifying the New Wave
Lack of continuity has plagued other teams in the league. The Suns added Kevin Durant before firing Monty Williams, forcing them to readjust multiple seasons worth of gelling. The Minnesota Timberwolves added Rudy Gobert and changed the identity of their franchise. The Celtics Have had three head coaches in three years. The Brooklyn Nets tried and failed to pair multiple stars; the list goes on.
We’ve seen the superteam structure fall out of favor in recent years, and it looks to be replaced by teams with strong structures and cultures. The past two champions, the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, support this. Both had longstanding cores with known success in the playoffs. As a rebuilding team, it’s probably a good idea to watch current trends in the league and use that information to map a path to success.
Building With Monty Williams
The hiring of Monty Williams checks off two boxes. First, the length of the contract shows a commitment to building a culture. Monty Williams should have the opportunity to mold the young roster into a strongly structured team. Secondly, Willams is already a championship-level coach. On day one, the Pistons know that Williams has the ability to lead a squad to the finals, and that should help keep his job safe for the years to come.
The Detroit Pistons know they won’t be competing for a championship in the next few years. They will continue to build their roster around Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren. Having confidence and continuity at the head coaching position will remove one of the many variables of effective team building.