General Manager of the San Antonio Spurs, R.C. Buford was voted 2015-16 NBA Executive of the Year. Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey finished second in the voting. Marc J Spears of ESPN has the full voting breakdown.
2015-16 NBA Executive of the Year voting results. pic.twitter.com/IJoYIT5kb0— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 9, 2016
Buford, who has been the Spurs’ GM since 2002, also won Executive of the Year in 2013-14 when his risky 2011 trade for Kawhi Leonard began to really pay off. This year’s win is accompanied by the best regular season record in the Spurs’ illustrious history, which was marked by the arrival of LaMarcus Aldridge.
To Olshey’s credit, finishing behind the GM who signed Aldridge, as the GM who lost Aldridge, is actually quite impressive.
The Trail Blazers won a surprising 44 games and earned a playoff berth after drastic restructuring. Olshey collected the pieces that made this team possible, but it can be reasonably argued that the coaching of Terry Stotts was more important to the team’s success. In a vacuum, landing an All-Star in free agency is more impressive management than losing one, jettisoning the rest of one’s team, and signing players for which there was little competition, so it makes sense that Buford would come out on top.
Still, the Blazers' incredible season was in part due to Olshey, who has done an incredible job since arriving in Portland four years ago. His vision for the team, even when pursuing Plan B, has kept the team constantly moving in a good direction. It is nice to see him appreciated.