The NBA concluded its offseason awards program two and a half minutes before the Phoenix Suns played in their first Western Conference Finals in over a decade, naming Suns general manager, James Jones, as the league’s Executive of the Year.
In what was an expectedly tight race, Jones received nine of 30 first place votes and 65 total points. Jones edged out Utah Jazz vice president of basketball operations, Dennis Lindsey, who followed closely with nine first place votes and 61 points. Brooklyn Nets general manager, Sean Marks, finished in third with five first place votes and 51 points.
After being hired in 2018, Jones has been the mastermind behind the Suns foundation for success. A former player and three-time champion who made the jump to the front office after retiring in 2017, a flurry of moves headed by Jones bolstered a young and hungry roster.
Chief among these were the hiring Monty Williams as coach prior to last season and swooping up a rugged two-way forward in Jae Crowder to pair along Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton in the frontcourt.
The most notable, and most successful, deal was the blockbuster trade in the offseason to acquire the on and off the court leadership of Chris Paul.
Just before tip-off, Jones received a standing ovation from a nearly sold out Phoenix Suns Arena.
Suns announce general manager James Jones as NBA executive of the Year pre-game. pic.twitter.com/DYXIpjQU5V— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) June 20, 2021
Phoenix finished with the league’s second-best record while advancing past the Los Angeles Lakers (led by four-time NBA champion LeBron James) and Denver Nuggets (led by 2020-21 NBA MVP Nikola Jokic) before taking a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
The Clippers and Suns tip off for Game 2 tomorrow night in Phoenix at 9:00 p.m. EST.