New York Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb has been named 2023 WNBA Executive of the Year, the league announced Thursday. Unlike other end of the season awards, which are decided by the media, Executive of the Year is determined by the league's general managers.
Kolb, the first Liberty executive to win the award, finished with six first-place votes and 20 total points to beat out Dallas Wings president Greg Bibb, who had 15 points. Connecticut Sun general manager Darius Taylor finished third. Both Bibb and Taylor received two first-place votes.
During the offseason, Kolb turned the Liberty into a superteam with a series of stunning acquisitions. First, he pulled off a blockbuster three-team trade with the Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings to acquire former MVP Jonquel Jones and veteran forward Kayla Thornton. Later in the winter, he signed another former MVP, Breanna Stewart, and the league's active assists leader, Courtney Vandersloot, in free agency.
It took a few months for the Liberty to really hit their stride, but once they became accustomed to playing with each other, they took off. They closed the season on a 14-2 run, and while they didn't end up catching the Las Vegas Aces for the No. 1 seed in the 2023 WNBA playoffs, they did win 32 games, which is the most in franchise history and the second most all-time. In addition, they beat the Aces in the Commissioner's Cup championship game.
From a statistical perspective, the Liberty set new WNBA records for 3-pointers made per game (11.1) and total makes (444), and posted the third-best offensive rating in league history, scoring 109.6 points per 100 possessions. They finished second in the league in offensive rating and second in net rating at plus-10.3.
Now, the Liberty will turn their attention to the 2023 WNBA playoffs, as they look for the first championship in franchise history. They'll take on the Washington Mystics in the first round, with Game 1 of that series set for Friday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.