Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones has won the 2020-21 NBA Executive of the Year award.
Suns owner Robert Sarver and Jones’ children presented the award to him before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.
Robert Sarver surprises James Jones with NBA Executive of the Year award pic.twitter.com/JgqTBBG1i6
— Dan Bickley (@danbickley) June 20, 2021
Champ’s speech to the crowd pic.twitter.com/HTMWsMD6ht
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) June 20, 2021
Before Jones became the permanent general manager prior to the 2019-20 season, the franchise went four straight seasons without surpassing 25 wins.
In a pandemic-interrupted 2019-20 season, Jones’ first year after he was promoted from interim GM in Phoenix, the Suns went 34-39 and that came thanks to an 8-0 run in the Disney World bubble to finish the year.
Then came the increase to 51 wins in a 72-game season, as continuity, internal development and the acquisition of All-Star guard Chris Paul paid off.
Jones also made deals to acquire Dario Saric and Torrey Craig, plus drafted Cam Johnson and signed free agents like Jae Crowder.
Phoenix won its first Pacific Division title since 2007 this year and was one of four teams that finished the season in the top-10 of both offensive and defensive ratings.
Jones and Utah’s Dennis Lindsey finished with the most first place votes as both executives ended with nine votes.
The Suns GM ended with a total of 65 votes.
The Suns’ James Jones and Utah’s Dennis Lindsey each had nine first-place votes in Executive of the Year voting but Jones narrowly edged Lindsey in total points. Full balloting here: pic.twitter.com/QUBI0Sksfy
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 20, 2021