NBA insider: Lakers should take a look at Monty Williams

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

After news surfaced of the Detroit Pistons’ decision to fire Monty Williams after he spent just one season as the team’s head coach, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith argued that the Los Angeles Lakers — who have yet to hire a replacement for Darvin Ham — should consider hiring Williams to be their head coach.

“I also wanna say this,” Smith said in reaction to the news of the Pistons firing Williams. “I know we’ve been talking a lot about J.J. Redick, but with Monty Williams available, that is a situation that the Los Angeles Lakers should look at, okay? So, I would definitely say that as well. They should look at it.”

Under Williams, the Pistons endured one of the worst seasons in the history of the NBA. Detroit won just 14 of its 82 contests during the 2023-24 regular season, and its campaign was marred by a losing streak that spanned a whopping 28 games.

The Pistons’ 14-68 record also marks the worst season in franchise history. For comparison, the 1979-80 iteration of the team ended up with the second-worst record in the history of the Pistons at 16-66.

But Williams doesn’t deserve all of the blame for Detroit’s disastrous season, considering the team was full of inexperienced pros who have yet to learn how to win at a high level. The Pistons’ best player a season ago was arguably Cade Cunningham, and he won’t turn 23 years old until this September.

The numbers suggest that the Pistons were ineffective on both sides of the ball during the 2023-24 regular season, considering the team was 27th in points scored per contest (109.9) and 26th in opponent points allowed per game (119.0).

If Williams were to become the Lakers’ 29th head coach in franchise history, he would have a lot more talent and experience at his disposal, headlined by two of the best players in the league today in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Williams has shown throughout his coaching career that he can lead teams to deep playoff runs if he has the necessary talent to work with. Not too long ago in 2021, he led the Phoenix Suns to their first appearance in the NBA Finals since 1993, when the Suns were spearheaded by Charles Barkley.

All in all, while Williams’ one season in Detroit was catastrophic, his time leading the New Orleans Pelicans and Suns suggests that he has the coaching chops necessary to be a successful head coach for the Lakers.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.