The reigning Executive of the Year, Nuggets VP of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, took it a step further.
“It’s mind-boggling to me,” Ujiri said in a statement to The Denver Post. “I mean, when the US Olympic team enlists a defensive stopper, there is no question who they choose – Andre Iguodala. Yet, for some reason he can’t be considered one of the top-10 defensive players in the NBA? It’s just shocking that he continues to be overlooked as a world-class defender in our league. I honestly thought he should be in the conversation for defensive player of the year, let alone first or even second team all-defense.”
There are three things that stand out here.
First, complaining about postseason awards is a little ridiculous, considering the voting processes in place for each. The man who won the Defensive Player of the Year award, Marc Gasol, didn’t even make the first team All-Defense. Why? Different groups are in charge of determining the different honors — media votes for the single player award, and the coaches voted for the All-Defensive teams.
Second, let me know the next time a team executive comes out and says that one of his players didn’t deserve something they were awarded, because it’ll be the first. Of course Ujiri is going to back his player here, especially after Iguodala publicly expressed frustration at being snubbed.
Finally, and perhaps of most interest is the fact that Iguodala is more than likely to opt out of a player option he has for next season, which would make him an unrestricted free agent. If he’s as valuable to the Nuggets defensively as Ujiri intimates, it doesn’t seem wise to talk him up publicly like this, when the end result could be Iguodala’s price tag becoming too high for Denver to be able to match.