Work ethic, family, one-liners: Here’s what Detroit Pistons can expect with Monty Williams

Detroit Free Press

Monty Williams has a ton of one-liners.

“Well done is better than well said.”

Even has a hat for that one with sales going towards Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“We don’t want to get happy on the farm.”

“I’m not calling you out, I’m calling you up.”

“This is basketball. We’re not digging ditches.”

“We celebrate everything.”

Like defense, I’m sure those will travel to Detroit where Williams will have the tall task of making the Pistons relevant again. Williams and the Pistons have reportedly agreed to a six-year deal for $78.5 million, the largest ever for an NBA head coach.

Here are five more things the former Phoenix Suns coach will bring to the Pistons, who are coming off their second-worst season in franchise history at 17-65. The Suns fired Williams after losing Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals to No. 1-seeded Denver by 25 points at home.


The Suns had a collection of players upon the arrival of Williams, but they didn’t have a team identity.

He came in and established a culture centered around professionalism, work ethic and family. He also takes pride in player development as Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson grew as players under him.

“We are a work team,” Williams would often say.

The Chris Paul trade sped up the winning process as Williams went 194-115 in four seasons in Phoenix, reaching the NBA Finals in 2021 and posting the NBA’s best record in 2021-22 with a franchise-best 64 wins, but the 51-year-old head coach established a winning culture in his first season there before Paul’s arrival.


This is part of being a head coach, but Williams is the first one to say he didn’t have his team ready to play after a loss, especially an ugly one.

“That falls on my shoulders,” he’d typically say.

He’s not one who calls out players on the regular, but Williams wants his teams to be on the same page. He likes strong locker rooms with leaders who can set the tone so he focus less on cleaning up messes and more on coaching.

Williams is serious as he’ll address issues with the team and in the league. Handled the Robert Sarver investigation as good as one could, but Williams has a sense of humor that can sometimes be dry, sometimes goofy as he’ll even admit, but he usually draws laughs.

Point-5 offense

Williams ran an offense in Phoenix in which he wanted players to either shoot, pass or drive the ball in 0.5 seconds.

“Just don’t hold the ball,” said Williams back in 2019.

There’s clearly some isolation in his offense as well as pick-and-roll with an emphasis on finding backside 3s, but the foundation of his offense is Point-5.

“Paint to great,” Williams has often said.

Old school

His first NBA coach was Pat Riley. Had hella long practices his rookie year in New York.

Williams is not a load management type guy.

His coaching mentors are Gregg Popovich, Nate McMillan and Doc Rivers.

You get the picture, but he has some modernization in him, too.

Preparation, game plan

He doesn’t tell the world pregame the team strategy, but usually has a good one.

Williams calls upon his staff for not only input, but to challenge his thoughts and ideas.

Could easily see one or two assistants from Phoenix following him to Detroit.

Now his in-game adjustments and rotations can be questioned, but he place high priority on situational basketball such as play calls out of timeouts and understanding time and score.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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