The NBA is a ruthless business. Whether a coach is fired or a player is released or traded, it is all business. Recently, the Phoenix Suns shockingly fired head coach Monty Williams. This news came just a few days after the Suns’ season ended in the second round of the playoffs. Monty Williams led the Suns to a 45-37 record, which included an 8-0 record when Kevin Durant played.
The season prior, 2021-22, Monty Williams led the Suns to a 64-18 record and earned the first seed in the Western Conference. The Suns went on to lose in the NBA Finals to the Bucks, but Williams still rightfully won the NBA Coach of the Year award.
How does Monty Williams’ firing affect the Sacramento Kings?
Five of the last seven NBA Coach of the Year winners have gotten fired.
The 2023 Coach of the Year Winner? Sacramento Kings leader Mike Brown.
Mike Brown deserved to win Coach of the Year this season, leading the Kings to a 48-34 record, an impressive improvement from their 30-52 record the season prior. This was Brown’s first season in Sacramento, and all Kings fans want his time here to last.
Mike Brown became the first Coach of the Year in history to win the award unanimously and the first Kings coach to win the award since Cotton Fitzsimmons in 1979.
While I would not say it is a curse, as New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau won the award in 2021 and is still going strong in New York, it is a weird trend to look out for. Dwayne Casey, former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, won Coach of the Year in 2019 and was infamously fired the same off-season.
The easy way for Mike Brown not to become a part of this trend is to start having playoff success. He achieved step one by taking this Kings team to the playoffs, but now he must build on that. Most coaches get fired because of the lack of success in the postseason, regardless of regular season success. The Coach of the Year is a regular-season award, so his next step is to use this off-season to build upon his successful regular season and improve the team to the point where he believes they can make it past the first round of the playoffs.