• OTG Staff

Roundtable: 2018-2019 Executive of the Year

All year we’ve watched the best of the best play this wonderful game of basketball. With the season concluded it's time to determine who put their franchise in the best position to win. The OTG Staff make their picks for Executive of the Year.

Nik Cuvalo - @NiikCuvs Executive of the Year: Elton Brand

Via USA Today

In my opinion, this is one of the most competitive award races of the 2018-2019 NBA season. Masai Ujiri (or, rather, Bobby Webster) has flexed his executive muscle with trades for Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Marc Gasol, in addition snatching Jeremy Lin off the buyout market, thus crafting the greatest Raps roster in franchise history. Donnie Nelson, with his trade for Porzingis, once occupied pole position in this race (before the bottom fell out on the current season). Daryl Morey has surrounded James Harden with enough talent once again, such that the Beard may do what the Beard does best (generally, that means a lot of triple-doubles, wins, foul calls, and support for Moreyball). Steve Mills might even deserve this one if the Knicks pipe dream pans out this summer (though, he probably won’t be rewarded this season for his salary-ejecting midseason trade). Jon Horst has surrounded Giannis with a deep roster, while Sam Presti has been up his usual tricks in assembling a contender in OKC. But if we’re being totally honest, my choice for this award is the man who has assembled the "Phantastic Five" in Philly – Elton Brand. The quintet he has assembled to comprise the 76ers starting lineup appears among the few true threats in the league to truly challenge the Warriors, should they reach the Finals. His work thus far in the role of Sixers GM appears MyGM-like, deftly translating Philly’s trove of prospects and picks into a win-now, balls-to-the-wall roster with a future payroll to match. But with this much championship quality on one team, you pay for what you get, and you give credit to the man who made it possible.

Dennis Dow - @dennisdownba

Executive of the Year: Jon Horst

Via USA Today

Mike Budenholzer was my Coach of the Year and for this award, I am staying in Milwaukee. Milwaukee made the most of free agency by going after guys that would fit what they wanted to do in Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova. Horst did a great job targeting bigs that could play alongside Giannis and he doubled down during the season by dealing for another shooting big man in Nikola Mirotic and signing Pau Gasol. In addition, he was able to get rid of John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova in exchange for George Hill. Another underrated move was locking up Eric Bledsoe before he hit the open market at a good number. Horst has done a great job assembling a roster that would fit the style that Budenholzer wanted to implement. Horst is the Executive of the Year.

Kyle Russell - @Kbrheatnation

Executive of the Year: Bobby Webster

Via Youtube

Last season ended terribly for the Raptors. Despite the best regular season in team history and the one seed going into the playoffs, they ran into a sweep at the hands of LeBron James. In the aftermath, Coach of the Year Dwayne Casey was let go, as someone had to be held accountable. And yet, the Raptors have turned things around fast. While president Masai Ujiri is usually credited as the ultimate decision maker, the general manager Bobby Webster has done an amazing job carrying out his role as well. Nick Nurse was promoted to head coach and continued to build on the success from last season. In July Raptors came out of nowhere to trade for Kawhi Leonard, the then disgruntled San Antonio superstar. Leonard is the type of MVP level talent the Raptors have needed badly to make a deep playoff run. Add in Pascal Siakam developing into an MIP candidate and the Raptors are set up to make a deep playoff run, in large part thanks to the work of Bobby Webster.

Alder Almo - @alderalmo

Executive of the Year: Elton Brand

Via. USA Today

Toronto, Milwaukee and Philadelphia all made significant moves to challenge Boston for the crown vacated by LeBron James in the East. Over in the West, Lakers got LeBron James and even Golden State add a top-tier talent in Boogie Cousins but their impact hasn’t been felt yet. Sixers’ Rookie GM Elton Brand though made the boldest trades without touching their top two assets – Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Adding Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to fast-track “The Process” in the East as they want to compete now rather than in the future. Brand also did a good job on selling oft-injured and struggling former first overall pick Markelle Fultz for two future picks (first and second) and veteran Jonathon Simmons in return.

Jorge Cantú - @CantuNBA

Executive of the Year: Jon Horst

Via USA Today

Not only did he bring the Coach of the Year front-runner aboard, but Horst also gave Budenholzer the perfect complementary players Coach Bud envisioned to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo with. He got Brook Lopez on an absolute bargain of a deal, he managed to re-sign Eric Bledsoe on a team-friendly contract, he brought Nikola Mirotic via trade without giving up any major assets, and put together a solid bench unit that isn't a liability while Giannis is catching a break on the sidelines. Horst has made sure Khris Middleton has a hard time thinking about playing elsewhere as the first-time All-Star becomes a free agent this summer, and it's the combined power of these "small moves" by Horst that has the team on such a good position as they enter the NBA Playoffs with what should be the best record in the league.

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