Campaigning Gar/Pax for Executive of the Year
A big congratulations goes out to the Bulls front office for capturing the Forbes Magazine top spot for most cost-efficient NBA franchise.
Forbes SportsMoney contributor, Patrick Rishe, concludes a simple formula of number of wins/team payroll. Seeing that the Bulls had the best overall record in the NBA and the fifth lowest payroll, it was hard for any team to compete in this category. You can check out the article here.
The question in my mind is, would this merit more votes to swing in favor of Gar Forman or John Paxson as NBA Executive of the Year? The general consensus has pointed towards Pat Riley for the entire season, after landing 2 of the top free agents, and resigning Dwyane Wade.
But for poops and swoops, lets weight the potential for the vote to swing.
It starts at the top. Pat Riley kept one of his proteges, in Erik Spoelstra to coach the Miami Thrice. Whether or not Spoelstra is a good coach or even a good fit is yet to be seen. To his defense, not many coaches can handle the egos and spotlight granted by the likes of LeBron James, let alone Wade and Bosh. I would say it’s hard to conclude that he is the right coach at this point and time for the Heat, but with Riley and his misdirections, I could very well be wrong. I do, however, believe that the Heat coaching staff should not be counted in favor of Pat Riley when it comes to winning the NBA Executive of the Year Award, at least not in comparison with the Bulls and stealing Thibs away from the Celtics.
Getting the #1 pick, and someone as motivated as Rose on top of that as a hometown hero is such a rare feat in the NBA. To credit The Bulls front office for Derrick Rose and his success would be unfair. To also credit the payroll management, when two of your top players are still on a rookie salary is also unfair. Pat Riley stole the last #1 hometown hero away from the Cavaliers and that’s a feat far greater of recognition than the crazy amount of luck involved with the Bulls and Rose.
The Bulls eventually built the team around depth. More depth than the average fan recognized this off-season. Riley built the team around a relationship that he had between Dwyane Wade, and allowed Wade to help him in an effort to recruit better players. While you can’t give Wade the Executive of the Year Award, major props have to be given to Riley for his use of creative networking to keep his player happy and extend the team into something that brought fans back to the NBA, supporters and haters alike.
If you consider the Heat’s 2nd place finish a failure, then I would tread lightly arguing against that claim. I don’t want to be a Heat apologist, but they did overcome some considerable oversights to get this far. The Bulls had injuries, but they had depth. That has to show why the Bulls’ move to build a deep team should award Gar and Paxson, and it might be a point against Riley for this season.
In the end, I don’t see why Riley would fail to win the NBA Executive of the Year award. Riley could have locked up the award early and many have picked him to get the award in the pre-season. We do know how ballot holders don’t like to change their pre-season votes. John Paxson may have tarnished his reputation last year with a scuffle with Vinny Del Negro, but his turn around as strictly an executive this season should win him and Gar some votes, if not, the NBA Executive of the Year Award. Technically, Co-Executives of the Year.
Aside from the white collared trophies and Forbes contributor recognition, the Larry O’Brien Trophy should be the only hardware the Bulls are seeking at this point. Everything else is just something for the old scrap book.