With the most focus on transactions, GMs are in charge of bringing in talent for the coaches and owners, and are likely the biggest decision-makers within the entire organization. The GM’s build the team and having a keen eye for talent in the draft, making smart trades and signing free agents is all the focus for building a talented roster all while maneuvering with the salary and luxury cap.
Here is how the 30 GMs rank in the NBA:
Sacramento Kings-Vlade Divac
The Kings have had turmoil in all aspects of their front office, and are one of the worst sports franchises in any of the big 3 leagues(MLB, NBA, NFL) and haven’t made the playoffs in 11 seasons. They’ve had one all-star player(Demarcus Cousins) in the past 15 seasons and they traded Cousins last season despite a “better offer on the table two days ago” according to Vlade Divac.
29. New York Knicks- Scott Perry
The Knicks are also one of the worst front offices in sports, however a majority of the blame falls on the owner James Dolan. The Knicks who should be a top-tier organization with it’s huge market and easy attraction for players, are a disaster of a franchise. The only smart move they’ve made was drafting Kristaps Porzingis and not trading him.
28. Orlando Magic- John Hammond
The Magic have struggled to remain relevant in the NBA world and haven’t made the playoffs since 2012. They’ve missed on a majority of draft picks with the only exceptions being Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo, who wasn’t that good until this year.
27. Chicago Bulls-Gar Forman
The Bulls gave up Jimmy Butler this past summer and gave up Nikola Mirotic before the deadline. They’re going to rebuild and have young players and draft picks to do that, but with the current state of their roster, they can’t be any higher than this.
26. Phoenix Suns-Ryan McDonough
25. Los Angeles Clippers-Michael Winger
Doc Rivers may be the most overrated coach in the NBA and he’s also a terrible GM. Rivers has since been relieved of duties and now Winger has taken over operations. After they traded away Chris Paul, Steve Ballmer decided to make Michael Winger the GM and have Rivers focus on coaching. They pleaded with Blake Griffin to stay over summer and signed him to a long-term deal, only to send him to Detroit a few months later. They’re heading for a rebuild and will hopefully deal Deandre Jordan and Lou Williams(The one bright spot on this roster) to a playoff team.
24. Atlanta Hawks-Travis Schlenk
Former Warriors assistant GM, Schlenk is stuck with a roster in turnover and in the beginning of a rebuild. The team is in good position to get a solid player in the stocked draft over the summer.
23.Charlotte Hornets-Rich Cho
Without Kemba Walker, this team would be one of the worst teams in the league, and while rumors of Walker being dealt have calmed down, Cho has failed to bring in more talent, Walker can’t do it all by himself.
Memphis Grizzlies-Chris Wallace
While this seasons struggles haven’t been Wallace’s fault, the blame is going to fall on someone and this season, it was Dave Fizdale. However, The Grizz are fading away from relevance in the competitive Western Conference and are likely going into a rebuild.
Brooklyn Nets-Sean Marks
The Nets have been a lot better than what was expected, and Marks was handed a talentless roster and a team without the rights to their own draft picks. However, acquiring D’angelo Russell was a great move for the franchise that has only won 1 playoff series since 2007.
Cleveland Cavaliers-Koby Altman
While people like to say that LeBron is the GM of the Cav’s, Altman has been the one running the operations. However, Altman has been very disappointing for his lack of ability to bring in talent. He was unable to acquire Jimmy Butler, Paul George or Chris Paul in a trade this summer. If Altman can’t bring in talent to help the roster, it’s likely LeBron leaves this summer.
The process is proven to be successful, with the young talent the Sixers have collected after years of tanking, they have demonstrated the amount of talent they have. If Colangelo can get solid available veteran like Tyreke Evans or Lou Williams before the deadline, the team may cause problems for some in the postseason.
Washington Wizards-Ernie Grunfeld
The Wizards have been near the top of the East for quite a while, yet they’ve never been good enough to beat Lebron. With John Wall and Bradley Beal they’ve proven to be a top tier team in the East, but they still are one more player away from being a Finals contender. They could be one big trade away from the Finals.
Dallas Mavericks-Donnie Nelson
Donnie Nelson has been a top tier GM for over ten years, however with the state of the Mavericks roster, it’s hard to include him within the top ten. Nelson has been able to keep Dirk around and made a great decision to draft Dennis Smith Jr. however, the team needs more talent if it wants to compete and it doesn’t look like this team will compete anytime soon.
Los Angeles Lakers-Rob Pelinka
Former super-agent, Pelinka is rebuilding the Lakers and made great draft picks. Their young core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball are going to be great as they mature. If Pelinka and Magic Johnson can convince Lebron or another star free-agent to join the purple and gold, the Lakers could become very interesting.
Indiana Pacers-Chad Buchanan
The Pacers have quietly put together a very nice year and are currently slotted in the 6th seed in the East. After Paul George demanded a trade, Buchanan didn’t rush into a deal and made a smart trade, where they may have gotten the better end of the deal with Victor Oladipo’s breakout season. The Pacers are a young and talented team that people forget about because they play in a smaller market.
Portland Trail Blazers-Neil Olshey
Olshey has tried to boost the Blazers to the next level and into the top tier of the west, however the Blazers are still one more star away from being a true contender. The core of the team is exciting, and adding Deandre Jordan to the team could be exactly what the team needs. Olshey is also a local favorite, appearing in the hit TV show Portlandia, which coincides with his ambitions to be an actor.
Utah Jazz-Dennis Lindsey
Lindsey couldn’t convince Gordon Hayward to stay with the Jazz, but drafting Donovan Mitchell has given new life to the organization. If Linsey can get another great player in the draft, they could add to a promising core with Mitchell and Golbert. Lindsey has shown he has a great eye for young overlooked talent.
New Orleans Pelicans-Dell Demps
The pelicans have fleeced other teams in deals in the past year. They acquired Demarcus Cousins last year for role players and a first round pick and received Nikola Mirotic for a 1st round pick and bench reserves. Demps has shown the Pelicans are serious about competing in the West, but they need their stars to stay healthy.
Detroit Pistons-Jeff Bower
The Pistons have made noise by trading away Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley for Blake Griffin. Getting an all-star level talent is impressive and the Pistons are going to fight for one of the last spots in the Eastern conference playoffs. The Pistons roster on paper, looks like a team that should contend in the playoffs for the years to come.
Elisburg with the help of the legendary Pat Riley, have made the Heat formidable with Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters. They’re currently looking strong to make the playoffs with key signee Kelly Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo.
Nuggets- Arturas Karnisovas
The Nuggets are holding onto the 8th seed in the West with their young talented roster. Karnisovas has one of the deepest teams at his disposal even with Paul Millsap injured. While the Nuggets lack one true star, no player averages over 20 points per game, they’ve developed into a great young team build around Nikola Jokic.
Layden has built a great roster with Wiggins, Butler and Anthony-Towns. However, this roster lacks depth which is very important. Their big 3 are all within the top 15 in the NBA for Minutes per game and they will be exhausted in the postseason. If they can make a trade for another role player or two, they could win a series or two in the West.
Toronto Raptors-Bobby Webster
Webster has built a very solid competitor, and drafting O.G. Anunoby was one of the steals in the draft. If Webster can pull off a move, there’s a chance the Raptors are the team to beat the Cavaliers. However, LeBron has had their number in the playoffs every year and until the Raptors beat the Cavs in a playoff series, they won’t be considered a Finals contender.
Milwaukee Bucks-Jon Horst
Building around Giannis and the young core of the roster has been Horst’s goal this season and acquiring underrated guard Eric Bledsoe and is potentially going to bring in Deandre Jordan. The Bucks have made solid draft picks in the past few years and are set up well to
compete in the East for the upcoming years.
Oklahoma City Thunder-Sam Presti
Presti deserves to be within the top 5 of GMs because of his ability to bring in talent. After Durant’s departure, he was able to get Westbrook to commit and become the face of the franchise. He traded for Paul George, and then Carmelo Anthony to make a very good big three for OKC. Presti also improved the bench that will help them go deep in the playoffs.
Houston Rockets-Daryl Morey
Morey has taken the analytical approach of only shooting 3-pointers and layups. This explains why the roster is filled with lots of talented shooters built around the likely MVP James Harden and Chris Paul. Morey’s efficient approach has boosted the Rockets to be able to compete with the Warriors.
Golden State Warriors-Bob Myers
Another former agent, Myers has transformed a young talented team into the best team in the generation. While convincing Kevin Durant to sign with the Warriors is incredible, finding valuable role players in the second round and manueving the salary cap has been Myers expertise. Myers is responsible for the stacked bench and the championship talent that is on the roster.
San Antonio Spurs-R.C. Bufford
The extended success of the Spurs is only matched by the Patriots in all of sports. The Spurs have won 5 championships since 1999 and have made the playoffs every year since then. They hold the highest regular season win percentage and have young talent in Kawhi Leonard and Co to continue the Spurs winning tradition.
Boston Celtics-Danny Ainge
Ainge is a master of trading, he stockpiled draft picks years ago for aged Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. With these picks, he has grabbed Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum who all have played well in the Celtics system. Ainge also shipped off Thomas for Kyrie Irving and are the strongest competitor in the East. He also recently convinced Greg Monroe to come off the bench for the Celts instead of going to start in New Orleans. Ainge deserves GM of the year.
Featured image by Celtics Hub.
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