Masai Ujiri got a baptism by fire — he was named the Nuggets general manager and a few months later Carmelo Anthony was forcing his way out of town with a trade. It was a circus around the Nuggets.
But Ujiri stood calmly in the middle of that storm, patiently waiting to get a good deal (or waiting for James Dolan to cave, either way). He got it, and with that trade as the catalyst he rebuilt the Nuggets as one of the NBA’s best teams this season. A team without a traditional star as the anchor, but one that plays fast, is entertaining and won 57 games, a franchise record.
For all of that, Ujiri will be named the NBA’s executive of the year on Thursday, reports the Denver Post. Executives from the 30 NBA teams vote on this award.
It’s well deserved.
Ujiri is groundbreaking as the first African-born GM not only in the NBA but also in any major American sport.
Nuggets coach George Karl was named NBA Coach of the Year on Wednesday.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.