Former Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has officially agreed to a six-year, 78.5 million dollar contract to become the next head coach of the Detroit Pistons. The contract also includes 2029 and 2030 club options, meaning Williams could be in Detroit for nearly a decade. The 78.5 million dollar deal is also the largest coaching contract in NBA history.
Pistons owner Tom Gores went all out to make sure this team was led by the 2021 and 2022 NBA Coach of the Year. In Phoenix, Williams had a coaching record of 194-115 (.628) in the regular season and a record of 27-19 (.587) in the playoffs. In Detroit, Williams will have to play more of a development role to some of the young guys but will have a healthy Cade Cunningham and sophomores Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren to build around.
What it means
Signing a coach to a contract of this magnitude brings a lot of assumptions. The biggest of those assumptions is that Coach Williams will have a large say in front-office decisions. With the NBA Draft fast approaching, the Pistons do have to decide whether or not to keep their fifth pick or trade it for a win-now starter. Knowing Monty and what he has had to work with in the past, it would not be a surprise if the Pistons opted to trade out of the fifth pick. It will also be interesting to see how aggressively the Pistons attack the free-agent market. Players such as Cam Johnson and Jerami Grant could be on the radar for GM Troy Weaver.
I believe that most Pistons fans would agree player development needs to improve. With the hiring of Monty Williams and former Rockets coach Stephen Silas to be the assistant, player development should start to become one of the main priorities.
Cade will be Cade, Ivey will build off an impressive rookie season, and Duren will continue to progress into a defensive menace. Beyond those three, there are question marks. Killian Hayes, who will be entering his fourth season, has shown flashes of being a contributing role player but has failed to stay consistent. Hayes has been impressive on defense but has yet to understand the mental aspect of his offensive game. Another player in need of better development is Isaiah Stewart. In the same draft class as Killian, Stewart has struggled with consistency as well but did improve his point average. averaging 11.3 points in 2022 as opposed to his 8.3 in 2021.
Drafting a player such as Jarace Walker could hinder the development of Stewart. The Pistons do have James Wiseman as well, who should see a minute increase under the new offense. Having a coach like Williams and a former coach like Silas can do wonders for the development of these guys who are looking to compete in the East. Monty Williams was instrumental in the development of a young Chris Paul in New Orleans and also paved the way for Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton to become key pieces on a playoff team. Silas, although fired from Houston, was a key part of the success that Jalen Green had in his rookie season.
For more from the author Charles Bolone, follow him out on Twitter here: @cbolone
Tweet: @WoodwoodSports or comment on your favorite social media platform!
Photo Credit: © Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports