Zach Kleiman Named 2022 NBA Exec of Year After Ja Morant, Grizzlies' Breakout Season

Adam WellsMay 12, 2022

MEMPHIS, TN - JULY 30: General Manager of the Memphis Grizzlies, Zachary Kleiman talks to the media during the press conference on July 30, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies continue to rack up awards after tying a franchise record with 56 wins during the 2021-22 season.

The NBA announced on Thursday that Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman has been named Executive of the Year. 

NBA Communications @NBAPR

NBA team basketball executives have selected Memphis Grizzlies Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Zach Kleiman as the winner of the 2021-22 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award, the NBA announced today.<br><br>More ➡️ <a href="https://t.co/XbxgH6RXZ2">https://t.co/XbxgH6RXZ2</a> <a href="https://t.co/innXghwI5m">pic.twitter.com/innXghwI5m</a>

Kleiman received 16 out of 29 first-place votes and had 85 total points. Koby Altman of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Arteras Karnisovas of the Chicago Bulls tied for second with 27 total points.

Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones and Miami Heat president Pat Riley were the only other executives who received at least three first-place votes. 

Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics, Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors, Jon Horst of the Milwaukee Bucks and Sachin Gupta of the Minnesota Timberwolves all received one first-place vote. 

Grizzlies star Ja Morant was awarded by the NBA as the Most Improved Player for the 2021-22 season. The third-year point guard was named to his first All-Star team and averaged 27.4 points per game on 49.3 percent shooting in 57 games during the regular season. 

Kleiman is the second Grizzlies executive to win this award. Jerry West previously took home the honor during the 2003-04 season after Memphis won 50 games and made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. 

Memphis won its first division title in franchise history this season. Kleiman has been with the organization since 2015. He was named executive vice president of basketball operations in April 2019. 

Morant was Kleiman's first draft pick (No. 2 overall) for the Grizzlies after his promotion. He also traded away franchise icons Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol in the summer of 2019 to start a long-term rebuild that has quickly paid off. They made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference during the 2020-21 season. 

The Grizzlies posted the second-best record in the NBA this season (56-26). This was the first time they have won at least 50 games since 2014-15.