Spurs' Buford Named NBA Executive Of The Year
June 2, 2016
San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford has been named the 2015-16 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year. Buford, in his 14th season as the team’s general manager, previously won the award in 2013-14.
Buford totaled 77 points and received nine of 29 first-place votes from a panel of fellow team basketball executives throughout the NBA. The Portland Trail Blazers’ Neil Olshey finished second with 63 points (10 first-place votes), and 2014-15 winner Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors was third with 38 points (five first-place votes).
Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Buford assembled a roster that produced the best record in franchise history (67-15). The Spurs won at least 50 games for the 17th consecutive season and captured their fifth Southwest Division title in the past six years. San Antonio finished the regular season 40-1 at home, matching the NBA record set by the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.
Fueled by two-time reigning Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 ppg) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). Leonard, acquired by San Antonio on draft night in 2011, also averaged a career-high 21.2 points, ranked third in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (44.3) and earned his first All-Star selection. He re-signed with the Spurs last July, just as Tim Duncan, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili did.
Also in July, San Antonio’s salary-cap management enabled Buford and Head Coach/President Gregg Popovich to sign free agent LaMarcus Aldridge to a team that went 55-27 in the 2014-15 season. Aldridge averaged 18.0 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds and shot a career-high 51.3 percent from the field in his first season with the Spurs, earning his fifth consecutive All-Star selection.
San Antonio’s moves for this season also included signing two-time All-Star David West, three-time Serbian Super League MVP Boban Marjanovic and undrafted rookie Jonathon Simmons, who was the MVP of the championship game at Samsung NBA Summer League 2015. All three players, along with 2014 first-round pick Kyle Anderson, contributed to the Spurs’ bench, which led the NBA in net rating (outscoring opponents by 10.9 points per 100 possessions) and ranked third in scoring (39.2 ppg).
Buford joined the Spurs in 1988 and spent four seasons as an assistant coach. He worked as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1992-93 season and was an assistant coach with the University of Florida in the 1993-94 season. He returned to the Spurs in 1994 and held the positions of head scout, director of scouting and vice president/assistant general manager before becoming general manager in July 2002.
Buford was named president of sports franchises for Spurs sports & Entertainment in 2008, a role that includes his work with the Spurs as well as oversight of sports administration for the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, the NBA Development League’s Austin Spurs and the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League.
Below are the voting results for the 2015-16 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP.
1972-73 Joe Axelson, K.C./Omaha
1973-74 Eddie Donovan, Buffalo
1974-75 Dick Vertlieb, Golden State
1975-76 Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix
1976-77 Ray Patterson, Houston
1977-78 Angelo Drossos, San Antonio
1978-79 Bob Ferry, Washington
1979-80 Red Auerbach, Boston
1980-81 Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix
1981-82 Bob Ferry, Washington
1982-83 Zollie Volchok, Seattle
1983-84 Frank Layden, Utah
1984-85 Vince Boryla, Denver
1985-86 Stan Kasten, Atlanta
1986-87 Stan Kasten, Atlanta
1987-88 Jerry Krause, Chicago
1988-89 Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix
1989-90 Bob Bass, San Antonio
1990-91 Bucky Buckwalter, Portland
1991-92 Wayne Embry, Cleveland
1992-93 Jerry Colangelo, Phoenix
1993-94 Bob Whitsitt, Seattle
1994-95 Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers
1995-96 Jerry Krause, Chicago 1996-97 Bob Bass, Charlotte
1997-98 Wayne Embry, Cleveland
1998-99 Geoff Petrie, Sacramento
1999-00 John Gabriel, Orlando
2000-01 Geoff Petrie, Sacramento
2001-02 Rod Thorn, New Jersey
2002-03 Joe Dumars, Detroit
2003-04 Jerry West, Memphis
2004-05 Bryan Colangelo, Phoenix
2005-06 Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Clippers
2006-07 Bryan Colangelo, Toronto
2007-08 Danny Ainge, Boston
2008-09 Mark Warkentien, Denver
2009-10 John Hammond, Milwaukee
2010-11 Gar Forman, Chicago (tie)
Pat Riley, Miami (tie)
2011-12 Larry Bird, Indiana
2012-13 Masai Ujiri, Denver
2013-14 R.C. Buford, San Antonio
2014-15 Bob Myers, Golden State