NEW YORK – Las Vegas Aces General Manager of Basketball Operations Dan Padover has been named the 2021 WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year, the WNBA announced today. Padover has earned the honor as the league’s top basketball executive for the second consecutive year.
The voting panel to determine the WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year was composed of one basketball executive from each WNBA team. Each executive submitted a ballot with a first-place vote, second-place vote and third-place vote. Padover won the award by being named on the most ballots (nine). Minnesota Lynx General Manager and Head Coach Cheryl Reeve (eight ballots) and New York Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb (six ballots) finished in second and third place, respectively.
Under the direction of Padover and Aces President of Basketball Operations & Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, Las Vegas finished with the second-best record in the WNBA (24-8) during the regular season. Las Vegas, seeking to win its first WNBA championship, hosts the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury in Game 2 of a Semifinals series tonight at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Las Vegas holds a 1-0 advantage in the series.
Padover, who joined Las Vegas in his current role in December 2018, reconfigured the Aces’ roster in February, signing unrestricted veteran free agents Chelsea Gray, a two-time All-WNBA Team selection, and Riquna Williams, a former WNBA Sixth Player of the Year. Both players started all 32 games for the Aces, with Gray averaging 11.1 points and a team-leading 5.9 assists, and Williams contributing 10.5 points.
Padover also strengthened Las Vegas’ roster during the season, signing free agent Kiah Stokes in July and reuniting her with Laimbeer, her head coach for three seasons with the New York Liberty. With Las Vegas, Stokes averaged 9.0 rebounds in eight starts during the absence of Liz Cambage.
Behind Gray, Stokes and Williams, in addition to 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and 2021 Kia WNBA Sixth Player of the Year Kelsey Plum, Las Vegas led the WNBA in offensive rating (107.1) and ranked second in both defensive rating (96.0) and point differential (+9.1).
Below is a list of past recipients of the WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award.