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#1 NBA General Manager of Last Decade?

By Daniel Strickland on September 24, 2009.

On Yahoo! Sports yesterday, Ball Don’t Lie ranked the top 10 NBA general managers of the last decade.

Guess who’s number one:

We don’t know how much impact Gregg Popovich has had on Buford’s wheelings and dealings, and R.C. has had help (current Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti was on his payroll for years). Buford also had nothing to do with the acquisitions of David Robinson (1987) or Tim Duncan(notes) (1997).

But there’s no denying Buford’s impact on the Spurs’ rise to power this decade. Even though he technically wasn’t the team’s personnel boss (that would be Popovich) when the Spurs drafted Manu Ginobili(notes) (2000) or Tony Parker(notes) (2001), he was the man who recommended the franchise take both future All-Stars.

Buford’s also emblematic of an organization that, from the owner on down, works together to sustain a winner, and stay frank and honest with themselves. Not a lot of game-playing in San Antonio, besides the 82 (and many, many extra playoff contests). They work from October until spring. Call it a symbolic choice, rail on me for not picking the lone GM gunslinger, despise the fact that, over 10 years after winning their first championship, the Spurs are still contenders under Duncan.

Do what you want. Organizations do win championships. The players are part of the organization, and the players need help. The executives need help, too, in the form of the expert player. The Spurs get this. Owner Peter Holt gets this, and Buford gets this. Unafraid to ask for help, unafraid to chase down a winner. And the results (the playoffs in every year, four championships overall, three during the decade in question) speak for themselves.

Incidentally, our friends over at Pounding the Rock must love whom Ball Don’t Lie ranked as one of the 10 best dunkers of the last decade.

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