San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford has been named the 2015-16 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year, the NBA announced today. 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).