Along with already holding two WNBA Coach of the Year awards and four league championships as a head coach, Minnesota Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve has added a new accolade to her impressive resume.
On Wednesday, the Lynx and the WNBA announced that Reeve has been named the 2019 WNBA Executive of the Year, receiving four of 12 first-place votes and a total of 28 points (5-3-1 format) from other basketball executives around the league. The award is voted on annually at end of the regular season by a panel consisting of one executive from each of the WNBA’s 12 teams.
“I am honored to have been chosen as Executive of the Year,” Reeve said in a statement sent out by the organization. “This award is a testament to the hard work of our talented staff. I am proud of the way our staff and players came together despite much adversity. Many thanks to Glen and Becky Taylor for their unwavering commitment to our team.”
Reeve, who just wrapped up her 10th season in Minnesota this summer and holds a career record of 231-109 in the regular season and 40-17 in the playoffs, is the first Lynx executive to be honored with the award. With the Executive of the Year honor beginning in the WNBA in 2017, Connecticut Sun’s Curt Miller won the award in 2017 with Atlanta Dream’s Chris Sienko winning it a season ago.
Prior to the 2018 season, Reeve was promoted to general manager to lead the team in the front office, going along with also leading the team on the sidelines as the head coach.
In her second full year in both roles this summer after taking over for Minnesota’s previous CEO and general manager Roger Griffith, who has since left the organization, Reeve was selected for the highest honor in the league for its executives.
Even with Griffith serving as the Lynx general manager in year’s past, Reeve has always had a strong input on all of the decisions made by the organization since she arrived in Minnesota in 2010, including decisions in the draft, free agency, trade market and more.
For the past two years, Reeve has been able to add the general manager title to go alongside head coach. In 2019, she deserves most of the credit for the Lynx being able to put together a quality regular season when many people on the outside looking in didn’t expect Minnesota to be very competitive this year.
Coming into the summer, the offseason began for Reeve and the Lynx by learning they would be without two pieces that played key roles in helping Minnesota win four WNBA titles in seven years. Lindsay Whalen, who retired following the 2018 campaign, and Maya Moore, who is currently taking a sabbatical from playing, announced they would not be returning to the team in 2019. That group eventually grew to include Rebekkah Brunson, who didn’t play this season while still trying to battle back from a concussion she suffered about a year ago.
As the WNBA Draft approached in April, Minnesota found out it would likely be heading into the new league year with just five players returning from the 2018 squad.
That meant Reeve had her work cut out for her in what turned out to be a busy, and ultimately very productive, offseason.
The head coach and general manager led into the 2019 campaign by adding multiple useful and promising players to the organization through every avenue of the draft, free agency and within the trade market. Moves that helped Reeve and the organization get a much clearer vision and sense of direction for the organization they didn’t fully have a few months prior.
During the draft, Reeve and the Lynx selected 2019 Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier with the sixth overall pick, a player that will be a cornerstone in Minnesota for many years to come. The Lynx later ended up selecting Jessica Shepard — a useful player within their rotation before suffering a season-ending knee injury early on in the year — in the second round of the draft, before trading for sharpshooter Lexie Brown in a transaction with the Connecticut Sun.
Through free agency, Reeve and Minnesota went out and signed the likes of Karima Christmas-Kelly, who was initially viewed as someone who would play a key role within the Lynx rotation before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and Damiris Dantas, who put together a career year while starting in 26 games in Minnesota.
One of the most important moves of the offseason made by Reeve came via the trade market, when the Lynx acquired guard Odyssey Sims in a trade with the Los Angeles Sparks that sent young guard Alexis Jones to Los Angeles. Sims ended up making the first All-Star Game appearance of her career while averaging a career-high and team-best 14.5 points and 5.4 assists per game.
As a result of those moves headed up by Reeve, the Lynx were able to reach the WNBA Playoffs for the ninth straight year while finishing the regular season with an 18-16 record. Although Minnesota exited the postseason in the opening round for the second year in a row, the Lynx surpassed many expectations that were set for them coming into the 2019 campaign.
As she heads into the offseason and starts to prepare Minnesota for the summer of 2020, the two-time Coach of the Year, four-time WNBA Champion head coach and now WNBA Executive of the Year is focused in on continuing to build onto her team to try and get the Lynx back to the postseason and eventually back to being title contenders once again.