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Monty Williams revisited Phoenix

Monty Williams, 52, who returned to Phoenix after becoming another team coach, looked emotional.

He, who leads the Detroit Pistons, said in an interview ahead of the away game against the Phoenix Sons at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on the 15th, "This is a special place for me."

Since his inauguration as Phoenix coach in May 2019, he has posted 194-115 record in four seasons with Phoenix. In his first year, he led a team that had only 34 wins to the final of next season. Starting with this, he made the playoffs for three consecutive seasons.

"I remembered the people I worked with here, Devin Booker and other players, and I also remembered what happened to my family outside of basketball. As I passed by the hospital on my way to an away hotel, I remembered things like, "My kid was treated at that hospital." All of these things were part of the journey of life. And I realized how blessed a leader I was. What happened here was amazing. He treated my family really well," he said, looking emotional.

"I had to prepare for the game at the same time. I felt as if my emotions were fluctuating. I am grateful for the opportunity here," he said, expressing his mixed feelings.

"In the world of basketball, even if I'm gone, I'm trying not to lose my relationship," he said, adding that he still stays in touch with people he was with during his Phoenix days.

After being replaced by Phoenix after the last season, he became Detroit's coach. He is being compared to the Phoenix days in that he took charge of another rebuilding team.

Phoenix coach Frank Vogel, who will face Williams on the day, called him "one of the best managers in the league" and said, "I think it's only a matter of time before that team rebounds again."

Williams shook his head. "I'm sure I got my chance back thanks to what I did here, but the situation for both teams is completely different," he drew the line.

He pointed to Devin Booker as the critical difference between the two teams. "He was ready to take the next step since I came to this team. Honestly, I couldn't anticipate what he would look like. Then, when I saw him play in the bubble back in 2020, I realized it was different," he said, praising Booker's presence.

When asked to compare Cade Cunningham with Booker, Detroit's current leading player, he said, "The two players are in completely different classes." "Cunningham did not play many games last year due to injury, so this is actually his second season. Booker has already experienced many successes. I want to help him grow into the best version with an open mind," he said.

Detroit, led by Williams, had a difficult time early in the season after losing 28 consecutive games.

"We did a really good job in our next game after a disappointing 122-128 loss at Boston on Dec. 29. I think that was the turning point. The losing streak made us grow, and it made me rethink my strategy, too. It just doesn't look like that because of the record, but I think we're getting better every month. We have to start over after the trade deadline, but we'll find a way. I'm proud that our players are getting better. I want to see them succeed," he said, adding meaning to his team's growth.
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Thursday, February 15, 2024
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