NEW YORK – NBA team basketball executives have selected Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones as the winner of the 2020-21 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. This is the first NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award for Jones, who has served two seasons as the Suns’ general manager and four seasons overall in the team’s front office.
Jones received nine of the 30 first-place votes and earned 65 total points from the voting panel, which comprised one basketball executive from each team. Utah Jazz Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey finished in second place with 61 points (nine first-place votes). Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks finished in third place with 51 points (five first-place votes). Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
With Jones leading the Basketball Operations department, Phoenix assembled a roster that posted the second-best record in the NBA (51-21) and the fifth-highest single-season winning percentage in franchise history (.708). The Suns made the NBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Head coach Monty Williams, whose hiring in May 2019 was overseen by Jones, finished in second place for the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award.
Last November, Jones reshaped the Suns’ roster by acquiring guard Chris Paul in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and signing forward Jae Crowder as a free agent. Paul averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists in his first season with Phoenix and joined Suns guard Devin Booker as a 2021 NBA All-Star selection. Crowder made a team-high 148 three-pointers this season.
Jones also re-signed forward Dario Šarić, who averaged 8.7 points and 3.8 rebounds this season as a valuable reserve. Key contributors also included Cameron Payne, who averaged 8.4 points and 3.6 assists in his first full season as a Sun after signing with Phoenix in June 2020 in advance of the 2019-20 season restart. Jones further bolstered the roster during the season as the Suns acquired forward Torrey Craig in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks on March 18. Craig averaged 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 32 games with Phoenix.
Phoenix hired Jones as vice president of basketball operations in July 2017. He handled general manager duties on an interim basis for the 2018-19 season and was named the team’s GM in April 2019. Jones joined the Suns after playing 14 seasons and winning three championships in the NBA.
The voting results for the 2020-21 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award are below. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP.
Below is the list of winners of the NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award.