Another Honor For Milwaukee

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: April 25, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — Who would’ve imagined that someone from Zion, Illinois would one day accomplish something that’s never happened in his team’s NBA franchise’s history?

In the previous 37 years the NBA’s management trophy has been awarded, there were candidates who won it more than once. On Saturday, 12 of the NBA’s 30 team executives, voted Milwaukee’s John Hammond as the 2010 NBA Executive of the Year.

“I’m happy for him,” Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. “Anytime you can be recognized with the profession, especially by your peers, you know how difficult the job is.”

The Bucks won 46 regular season games in 2009-10. It was a 12-game improvement from last season.

They also earned their first playoff berth since 2005-06.

Hammond hit the jackpot when he selected guard Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Jennings earned a starting spot and averaged 15.5 points per game in his rookie campaign, making him one of the candidates for Rookie of the Year.

Soon after Hammond took over for previous general manager Larry Harris, who drafted Joe Alexander, which Hammond dealt later this past season, he hired Skiles.

Milwaukee got a bargain in forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a second round pick in 2008. Hammond was instrumental in bringing in veterans Carlos Delfino and Kurt Thomas and re-signing Ersan Ilyasova, who was drafted by the Bucks in 2005 and returned to the team last summer.

When guard Michael Redd went down with a season-ending knee injury, Hammond signed veteran forward Jerry Stackhouse this January to provide scoring in Redd’s absence.

He acquired guard John Salmons in a trade from Chicago for forward Hakim Warrick and Alexander. Both Stackhouse and Salmons paid immediate dividends for Milwaukee and were a big part of the team grabbing the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“It’s exciting to be at this point,” Hammond said. “It’s exciting personally to be at this point.

More importantly, for our team and our organization, it’s very exciting to have a regular season where we win 46 games to be in the playoffs.”

“I don’t think we can ask a whole lot more out of that locker room than to be where we’re at.” Atlanta coach Mike Woodson, who worked with Hammond in Detroit for a season, can vouch for his former colleague.

“He’s done a great job,” Woodson said. “He’s been around a winning atmosphere in Detroit, him and Joe Dumars and what they’ve done there. It kind of translated over there to Milwaukee in terms of the moves that he’s made.”

Bucks owner Herb Kohl allowed Hammond to reshape the team his own way, using the model that worked for him in Detroit. “I don’t think we had any kind of timetable,” Hammond said.

“The Senator didn’t say, ‘We have to win X amount of games by a certain point.’ The only thing we asked him was the opportunity to give us a chance to put a good competitive team on the floor.

“Our goal is to stay that way.

We got a team we like. We’re competitive and we want to remain competitive.” Skiles, who finished second in the NBA Coach of the Year voting, thinks a good working relationship is key to maintaining a winning attitude.

“It’s good that we have a good relationship, but as we all know, we’re temporarily in this business,” he said. “Sometimes things change.” Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti was second with nine votes.

Danny Ferry of Cleveland received two votes.

Charlotte’s Rod Higgins, Dallas’ Mark Cuban, Memphis Chris Wallace, New Orleans’ Jeff Bower, Portland’s Kevin Pritchard, Sacramento’s Geoff Petrie and Utah’s Kevin O’Connor got one vote each.

Multiple winners of the award, which began in 1973, included Jerry Colangelo (four times) and two-time winners Bob Ferry, Stan Kasten, Jerry Krause, Bob Bass, Wayne Embry, Geoff Petrie, Jerry West and Bryan Colangelo.

Kasten was the only recipient to receive the award in consecutive years (1986-87).