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Dallas General Manager Donnie Nelson finishes 8th in Executive of the Year voting

Reaping the benefits of last season

Post NBA Draft Press Conference Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

On Thursday afternoon, the NBA announced the winner for the 2019-20 season executive of the year in Lawrence Frank. Donnie Nelson finished 8th.

Is this news? Not really. But it’s interesting enough to talk about because for the 2019-20 season, what exactly did Nelson do to get this much credit?

Well in 2018, the Mavericks drafted Luka Doncic, a player who became the Rookie of the Year in 2018-19 and a All-NBA player this season. In February of 2019, he made a blockbuster trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks.

But that was last season. In the off-season prior to this year, the Mavericks locked up Porzingis to kick off their free agency then did... nothing. For days. Though they eventually locked up Delon Wright to a three year deal and a nice deal with Seth Curry for four years, the remainder of their off-season meant re-signing their own free agents.

Is that enough for being ranked in the top third of the league’s executives? There has to be some Luka Doncic bleed over into this vote because the Maverick off-season was, at least in my opinion, not what it could’ve been. And considering where you stand on the artificial cap-space the Mavericks created by having player’s Bird Rights (Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, Porzingis), this past off season really feels like a missed opportunity considering how good Doncic and the Mavericks were in 2019-20.