Milwaukee Bucks: Jon Horst wins NBA Executive of the Year award

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 19: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 19: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With the annual NBA Awards taking place on Monday night, Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst walked away with the Executive of the Year award.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ season ultimately didn’t end in the way they’d have hoped, but there’s still plenty to celebrate from one of the franchise’s best seasons in decades, and a major step forward in their goal of winning a championship.

As the NBA Awards took place in Santa Monica, California on Monday, the league-wide annual ceremony had more than a passing resemblance to a celebration of the Bucks’ successful year.

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Entering the night with multiple awards finalists, hopes were high for Milwaukee to walk away with more than their fair share of recognition, and general manager Jon Horst certainly played his part in making that a reality as he was named NBA Executive of the Year.

Horst masterminded the significant change in personnel, both and off the court, that proved essential in fueling Milwaukee’s improvement in 2018-19.

That transformation started when he oversaw the coaching search that followed up the end of the previous season, ultimately settling on Mike Budenholzer as the right coach to guide the Bucks forward.

Under Budenholzer’s guidance, the Bucks kicked on to win 60 games in the regular season, but Horst’s additional moves throughout the season also ensured the Bucks were well equipped to contend over the course of the year.

Trading Matthew Dellavedova and an injured John Henson dramatically improved the Bucks’ salary flexibility heading into this crucial offseason, and getting George Hill in return also gave Milwaukee an accomplished and talented player who was vital during the team’s playoff run.

Likewise, Horst made a necessarily aggressive move at the trade deadline to acquire Nikola Mirotic when the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers were making their own bold moves at the top of the Eastern Conference. The combination of injury and an ill-timed slump in form ultimately led to Mirotic being much less effective than the Bucks would have hoped, but it’s still tough to fault the process behind the trade.

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Horst will have no time to rest on his laurels as some of the most important decisions he’s faced to date will be waiting for him once free agency opens next week. For the moment, though, Horst can take pride in becoming just the second Bucks GM to earn Executive of the Year honors, following in the footsteps of his mentor John Hammond.