Las Vegas Aces general manager Dan Padover is the 2021 Executive of the Year, the WNBA announced Thursday. The Aces are currently up 1-0 in their semifinals series against the Phoenix Mercury and play Game 2 Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2). They went 24-8 in the regular season and finished in second place.
The Aces signed Chelsea Gray and Riquna Williams, both of whom played for the Los Angeles Sparks last year, this past offseason.
Gray entered the season as a two-time All-Star and one of the best point guards in the league. She is known as the “Point Gawd” for her phenomenal no-look passes. She is considered a superstar and formed a big three with A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage. She went on to average 11.1 points and 5.9 assists in 2021 and was selected to the U.S. Olympic team and therefore the All-Star Game.
Williams is known as “the Microwave” because she can catch fire as a scorer as well as anyone in the league. She has a 51-point game to her credit as a WNBA player and is one of only two players in league history to score 50-plus in a single contest. The other is Cambage. Williams doesn’t average superstar scoring numbers. She was good for 10.5 points per game as a Spark last year and averaged the same number this season. But she is a legit star and the fact that she is arguably the Aces’ seventh-best player speaks to how loaded they are.
Padover created a super team that was also supposed to include Angel McCoughtry as an eighth star, but McCoughtry missed the entire season with a torn ACL and meniscus. Padover signing McCoughtry during the 2020 offseason led to him winning Executive of the Year last year. McCoughtry averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 2020 and helped lead the Aces to the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs.
This past offseason the Aces also drafted Destiny Slocum at No. 14 overall and re-signed Cambage. Slocum is their only draft pick who has seen some playing time this season and has held her own. Cambage was selected to the All-Star Game and finished the regular season with 14.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Padover is in his third year as Aces general manager.