Memphis, Tenn. – Memphis Grizzlies EVP of Basketball Operations and General Manager Zachary Z. Kleiman has been selected as the winner of the 2021-22 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year, the NBA announced today to 92.9 FM ESPN.
“This is an organizational honor,” said Kleiman. “I wouldn’t be in this position without Robert (Pera)’s vision and support, and I’m grateful to be pursuing NBA championships in Memphis with such a driven and competitive group of players and staff. Thank you to my peers for this recognition.”
Kleiman received 16 of the 29 first-place votes and 85 total points from a voting panel of team executives across the NBA. Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. Kleiman, 33, is the youngest recipient of the NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award, which has been presented annually since the 1972-73 season. He also becomes the second person to earn the honor with the Grizzlies, joining Jerry West (2003-04).
In Kleiman’s third season leading the team’s Basketball Operations, Memphis recorded the second-best record in the NBA (56-26) and tied the 2012-13 franchise record for winning percentage (.683). The Grizzlies earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs (a franchise record) and captured the Southwest Division championship, the first division title in franchise history.
Under Kleiman, the Grizzlies assembled a roster that set a franchise record for scoring average with 115.6 points per game (second in the NBA) as the second-youngest team in the NBA. All 9,480 of the Grizzlies’ points this season were scored by players under the age of 30. Memphis led the league in rebounds (49.2), offensive rebounds (14.1), steals (9.8), blocks (6.5), points in the paint (57.6), second chance points (18.7) and fast break points (17.7), setting single-season franchise records in every category except blocks (which ranked second in club history). The Grizzlies became the first team to lead the NBA in rebounds, steals and blocks since steals and blocks became official statistics in 1973-74.
This is the first NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award for Kleiman, who has served seven seasons with the Grizzlies and three in his current role.