May 7, 2014, 10:25 AM EST
How has Gregg Popovich won only one Coach of the Year award? How has R.C. Buford never won Executive of the Year?
Consider those perceived Spurs-related slights fixed and fixed.
After Popovich earned his second Coach of the Year in the last three seasons (bringing his total to three), longtime Spurs general manager Buford won the 2013-14 Executive of the Year.
Consider this a lifetime achievement award. Buford’s key moves in the last year – signing Marco Belinelli, re-signing Manu Ginobili, re-signing Tiago Splitter, drafting Livio Jean-Charles – are pedestrian relative to Buford’s years of team-building.
Seventeen general managers – most of the league – received votes, and 11 received first-place votes. That parity created an opening for Buford to win in a season his biggest accomplishment was keeping in tact everything he’d assembled previously.
I feel bad for the Suns’ Ryan McDonough, who was my choice for the honor and finished second. In his first year on the job, he made the Suns better in the short term and set them up beautifully for the long term by acquiring multiple first-round picks. I believe he did the best job this year, which is what the award is literally supposed to honor. It’s just bad luck to do so in a year voters – the NBA’s 30 top executives themselves – decide to honor someone’s entire career.
But in that sense, the whole award is a little silly. Being a good general manger requires long-term strategizing, and good moves often don’t reveal themselves in the year they occur. Maybe they should hand out this award each year based on the previous five seasons. That would at least more accurately reflect the job these executives are doing.
Buford is one of the NBA’s best – maybe even the best – general manager, and he deserves some type of recognition for that. The 2013-14 Executive of the Year probably isn’t the most appropriate choice, but it’s all there is to give, and in that sense, it’s well-earned.
Full voting (first-, second-, third-place votes, total points)
1. R.C. Buford, San Antonio (9-3-4-58)
2. Ryan McDonough, Phoenix (5-6-4-47)
3. Neil Olshey, Portland (5-2-3-34)
4. Masai Ujiri, Toronto (3-3-4-28)
5. Pat Riley, Miami (1-3-1-15)
5. Sam Presti, Oklahoma City (1-3-1-15)
7. Danny Ainge, Boston (1-2-2-13)
8. Billy King, Brooklyn (2 -0-1-11)
9. Daryl Morey, Houston (0-3-1-10)
9. Ernie Grunfeld, Washington (1-1-2-10)
11. Rod Higgins, Charlotte (1-0-1-6)
11. Larry Bird, Indiana (0-2-0-6)
11. Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers (0-1-3-6)
14. Bob Myers, Golden State (1-0-0-5)
15. Danny Ferry, Atlanta (0-1-0-3)
16. Gar Forman, Chicago (0-0-2-2)
17. Donnie Nelson, Dallas (0-0-1-1)
Dec 24, 2014, 11:00 PM EST
The Wizards are an underrated team in the East. The Knicks… not so much.
Dec 24, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Previewing the Bulls vs. Lakers matchup at the United Center.
Dec 24, 2014, 9:00 PM EST
Colorways inspired by shoes Michael Jordan wore during his best Christmas Day performance.
Spurs and Thunder, who’ve been best in the West lately, both fighting for position entering Christmas matchup
Dec 24, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
Injuries to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard have put both teams behind the eight ball
Dec 24, 2014, 6:06 PM EST
An additional confirmation that no Deron Williams deal gets done on Sacramento’s side unless they can also get the talented young big man as part of the package.
Dec 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Young says Lakers played liked ‘Django Unchained’ without Kobe Bryant
Dec 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Boston has Brandan Wright, large trade exception
Dec 24, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
The NBA has given us some good presents to open for Christmas.
Dec 24, 2014, 2:15 PM EST
McHale earned this.
Dec 24, 2014, 1:24 PM EST
This is a low risk pickup by the Rockets at a good price.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:58 PM EST
A minor move, but one that should benefit both teams.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:36 PM EST
Expect more Tristan Thompson in the short term, a trade for Cleveland to land a big in the longer term.
Dec 24, 2014, 11:45 AM EST
Miami fans will boo a little, but this isn’t Cleveland.
Dec 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
Lakers can use Steve Nash’s disabled-player exception to sign free agents
Dec 24, 2014, 10:00 AM EST
Orlando’s fourth-year players have All-Star cases. Yes, really.
Kendall Marshall turns back to play, runs like an airplane to celebrate… Jared Dudley’s missed 3-pointer (video)
Dec 24, 2014, 9:45 AM EST
Bucks don’t come back, fall to Hornets
Dec 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Wizards center gets big slam, but Bulls win
How much did Damian Lillard’s game tying shot Tuesday look like series winner vs. Rockets? A lot. (VIDEO)
Dec 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
Same play, same spot, same result.
Dec 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Lakers star says he trusts Lakers management
Dec 24, 2014, 2:15 AM EST
The Lakers pick up a win without Kobe Bryant around.
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- Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris coming into their own for Magic 6
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- Report: Rockets ‘very confident’ they’ll land Josh Smith 19
- Report: Sixers want Andrei Kirilenko to report to team, prepare to play 16