Originally written May 16, 2012 on Project Spurs:
The 2011-12 San Antonio Spurs team is stacked and their depth is staggering. From rookie Kawhi Leonard, the "Big 3," to having Stephen Jackson, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal come off the bench, there is no doubt San Antonio's roster can be intimidating for any opposing team. Much of this is due to Spurs GM R.C. Buford. Buford was able to create a roster which has allowed the Spurs to capture the best record in the Western Conference and own a 17-game winning streak which includes a sweep of the Jazz in the first-round of the playoffs. However, all this success wasn't good enough as Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird won the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year with R.C. coming in second in the voting. Bird set the tone for the 2011-12 season by naming Frank Vogel, who had served in an interim capacity for 46 games during the 2010-11 season, head coach on July 6, 2011. He added to an already strong nucleus by signing David West in December, and beefed up the Pacers' bench by trading for Lou Amundson and Leandro Barbosa. Indiana's draft picks under Bird's watch have included three key contributors on this year's team: Paul George (2010), Tyler Hansbrough (2009), and Roy Hibbert (2008). Buford finished with 56 points (eight first-place votes). Keep in mind, other NBA executives voted for this year's winner. OK sure Bird assembled a solid team but it pales in comparison to what Buford did this season. Not only did he swing a Draft Day trade with Indiana which netted Kawhi Leonard, he also managed to trade Richard Jefferson and his albatross of a contract to the Warriors for Jackson. What do you have to say Spurs fans? Think Buford got robbed?
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