2019 PBT Awards: Executive of the Year
1. Jon Horst, Bucks
2. Sean Marks, Nets
3. Tim Connelly, Nuggets
Traditionally this award is won in July, and Magic/Pelinka nabbed LeBron, but they made so many other mistakes they don’t get it. Horst did a great job hiring Mike Budenholzer then building a roster around Giannis Antetokounmpo and the system that they were the NBA’s best regular season team.
1. Masai Ujiri, Raptors
2. Jon Horst, Bucks
3. Lawrence Frank, Clippers
Trading for Kawhi Leonard – raising the Raptors’ ceiling and giving them more flexibility if Leonard leaves – was the type of move that could singlehandedly win this award. Ujiri did much more. Landing Danny Green in the Leonard trade was sneaky good, and re-signing Fred VanVleet was trickier and more important than people realize. An in-season trade for Marc Gasol was another trade well worth the low cost.
Jon Horst made two great additions – Brook Lopez for the room exception, Mike Budenholzer as coach. The Clippers’ in-season trades netted them two future first-round picks and Landry Shamet while staying competitive enough to make the playoffs. Nets general manager Sean Marks didn’t trail Lawrence Frank by much.
1. Sam Presti, Thunder
2. Sean Marks, Nets
3. Masai Ujiri, Raptors
Presti isn’t a pick that’s going to be high on the boards, but think about how the story has changed in Oklahoma City this year. This was a team that re-signed Russell Westbrook and Paul George for a quarter of a billion dollars to play with Steven Adams and a bunch of salary filler. But Presti has always been smarter than the room, and his decision to put the Thunder in perpetual luxury tax hell had to have been based on something. Turns out, it was. George is DPOY candidate, which is wild considering the high probability of roster disaster after re-signing PG. OKC would be in better shape if Westbrook had the ability to evolve his game, which he clearly can’t. All three of these guys — Presti, Marks, and Ujiri — have turned over the cards they needed when they bet big. You need to be bold in today’s NBA, and that’s exactly what they are.