Spurs’ R.C. Buford wins Executive of the Year, though Trail Blazers’ Neil Olshey gets most first-place votes

Garrett W, Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
2 Comments

We were split between the Spurs’ R.C. Buford and the Trail Blazers Neil Olshey for Executive of the Year.

Apparently, so were NBA executives.

Buford won the 2016 Executive of the Year despite Olshey getting more first-place votes from their peers.

Here’s the full voting with executive, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points):

  1. R.C. Buford, San Antonio (9-10-2-77)
  2. Neil Olshey, Portland (10-3-4-63)
  3. Bob Myers, Golden State (5-4-1-38)
  4. Masai Ujiri, Toronto (2-2-2-18)
  5. Rich Cho, Charlotte (1-2-6-17)
  6. Danny Ainge, Boston (1-2-2-13)
  7. David Griffin, Cleveland (0-3-1-10)
  8. Stan Van Gundy, Detroit (0-1-3-6)
  9. Pat Riley, Miami (0-1-3-6)
  10. Sam Presti, Oklahoma City (1-0-0-5)
  11. Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia (0-1-2-5)
  12. Wes Wilcox, Atlanta (0-0-1-1)
  13. John Hammond, Milwaukee (0-0-1-1)
  14. Dennis Lindsey, Utah (0-0-1-1)

Thoughts:

  • R.C. Buford and Neil Olshey had excellent years, as we explained here.
  • Buford, who also won in 2014, is the first two-time winner since Bryan Colangelo (2005 Suns and 2007 Raptors). This can be a funny award.
  • What did Bob Myers do to earn votes this year? Re-sign Draymond Green as a restricted free agent? Lure Anderson Varejao after his buyout? Not trade for Stephen Curry? Myers is an impressive general manager, but this team has been built for a while (as was the case when he won last season). This doesn’t seem to go past simplistic “Warriors are good, so they deserve awards” thinking.
  • I’m not surprised Richard Cho finished highly, but I’m not on board. He made the Hornets better this season, but he did so with a rotation full of expiring contracts. One false step in free agency, and the entire foundation collapses. It could work out for Charlotte if Nicolas Batum and other key free agents re-sign, but I don’t think a first-round exit justifies such an treacherous outlook.
  • An executive from each team votes for this award, so unlike honors where media pick, each voter’s choices aren’t publicly disclosed. The closeness and anonymity of voters opens the door for voting to push an agenda. Do three executives really think Sam Hinkie had a top-three year, or do they just want to throw support to the deposed 76ers general manager? On that note, I’m little surprised Jerry Colangelo didn’t get an honorary vote from the other side of the divide. Does anyone truly believe overseeing the Bucks’ backslide justified a John Hammond vote, or this protesting Jason Kidd’s arrangement?
  • Another curious vote-getter: Wes Wilcox. Mike Budenholzer runs the Hawks’ front office.
  • I wonder whether Phil Jackson is surprised about not getting any votes this year, too.