Yesterday it was announced the Denver Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri won the NBA's annual Executive of the Year award. It's arguably one of the NBA's most meaningful awards, as it's voted on by colleagues and front office peers, not media types.
Ujiri of course took over in Denver, after a run with the Toronto Raptors under current President and GM, Bryan Colangelo.
While Ujiri was supposedly being judged on this past year alone, as Yahoo! Sports' Kelly Dwyer notes, a big part of said win was likely because of the job he's done building a top-notch basketball club without a "superstar" player. Ujiri's collected an impressive bunch of top talent while keeping his team's budget relatively balanced, and did the unthinkable, trading a "superstar" without getting bludgeoned in the process.
In fact many would argue he made off better in said superstar trade than the team he dealt with, at least in the short term.
It's ironic is it not?
Bryan Colangelo's former understudy wins the Exec of the Year award for doing the exact things that he, himself has not been able to accomplish here in Toronto! Colangelo got about five cents on the dollar in the transaction that saw Chris Bosh head to Miami, whereas Ujiri got arguably the full dollar back for Carmelo Anthony, and maybe more.
Would the Raptors be better off with Ujiri at the helm instead of BC? That's likely a question that bounced around many a Raptors' fan's head after the Exec award announcement, and at face value, it's pretty easy to say yes.
Since taking over for the Nuggets, Ujiri's club has posted a .627 winning percentage.
Colangelo's teams during that same time period haven't even hit the 35 per cent mark.
Of course there are a myriad of compounding factors here, and the Nuggets in the first year of the compare started with more talent, but it's hard not to look upon the job Ujiri's done with a good degree of envy.
And to compound things, the runners up to Ujiri for the award were the Los Angeles Clippers' Gary Sacks, and none other than former Raptors' GM Glen Grunwald, who tied for third place in the voting with fellow GM Darryl Morey of Houston!
Which of course means that two of the top three GM's in consideration for Executive of the Year, were former Raptors' front-office brass.
Let's just say this decision on Bryan Colangelo's future can't come soon enough.