Advanced metric shows Brian Wright is among the best GMs in the NBA


Brian Wright has been a breath of fresh air for the front office since the San Antonio Spurs named him their General Manager in 2019. While some of his moves have been controversial among the fanbase, it is difficult to question his decision-making after the team chose Victor Wembanyama and added an abundance of assets to its treasure trove of valuable draft capital.

Not only has Wright helped the Silver and Black create one of the brightest young cores in the league, but he has executed numerous business-savvy trades to bolster this talented roster with dependable veterans. The 40-year-old executive has earned the trust of the Spurs faithful, and his superb résumé landed him an exceptionally flattering evaluation from Yahoo Sports.

This article ranks every general manager in the NBA using what author Ben Rohrbach calls The Danny Ainge System. This process grades draft selections, trades, and free agent transactions on a scale of singles, doubles, triples, home runs, walks, and strikeouts and produces corresponding Sabermetrics numbers. With that in mind, here is where Wright placed among his peers.

Yahoo Sports General Manager Rankings

1.) Danny Ainge (Jazz)
2.) Masai Ujiri (Raptors)
3.) Brian Wright (Spurs)
4.) James Jones (Suns)
5.) Kevin Pritchard (Pacers)
6.) Pat Riley (Heat)
7.) Troy Weaver (Pistons)
8.) Coby Altman (Cavaliers)
9.) Brad Stevens (Celtics)
10.) Tim Connelly (Nuggets)
11.) Zach Kleiman (Grizzlies)
12.) David Griffin (Pelicans)
13.) Sam Presti (Thunder)
14.) Daryl Morey (76ers)
15.) Rob Pelinka (Lakers)

Wright finds himself in stellar company in these rankings, securing third place over celebrated front-office masterminds like Pat Riley, Sam Presti, and David Griffin. The Spurs had a reputation for being passive in the trade market, but the fifth-year general manager has overhauled the organization with deals that sent fan favorites across conferences and sparked an all-out rebuild.

Best Moves

Drafting Devin Vassell with the 11th pick in 2020
Drafting Jeremy Sochan with the 9th pick in 2022
Signing Zach Collins to a three-year contract in 2021

Worst Moves

Drafting Joshua Primo with the 12th pick in 2021
Drafting Joe Wieskamp with the 41st pick in 2021
Trading Derrick White to the Boston Celtics in 2022

Though this approach is unquestionably flawed, Rohrbach took a thorough and unbiased look at what made each transaction from these executives a triumph or failure. Wright might not have an extensive track record of success with San Antonio, but he has done enough at the outset of his career to show everyone he is well-prepared to follow in the footsteps of a legend like R.C. Buford.