NBA GMs who get the most out of your betting buck

Jason Logan
When the ax fell on Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith last month, the organization obviously didn’t take into account the team’s ATS record while Smith was calling the shots in the Magic Kingdom.

Under Smith’s guidance, Orlando posted a 214-173-7 ATS mark over the past five seasons, covering nearly 55 percent of the time, for the best ATS record in the NBA during that span.

According to numbers recently released by, Smith added $78,518,915 in player contracts over a five-year frame –the fifth most in the league.

Florida rivals, the Miami Heat, topped the list dishing out an additional $114,064,952 the last five years, including that super summer of 2010 in which the organization signed LeBron James, Chris Bosh and re-signed Dwayne Wade. Over the last five years, the Heat have gone 189-200-5 ATS in the regular season, including a 72-75-1 ATS mark in the Big Three era. Not quite the return South Beach bettors want considering all those dollar signs.

Here’s a short list of NBA GM’s who know how to get the best betting bang for their buck.

Sam Presti, Oklahoma City Thunder

Presti is one of the rare fixtures remaining from former Seattle SuperSonics organization, taking the GM reins in June 2007. He moved with the team to Oklahoma City and built the roster using a model similar to the San Antonio Spurs, adding $64,514,723 in player salaries over the past five season (12th most in the NBA). That careful planning has paid off for Presti and OKC bettors. The Thunder/Sonics are 211-178-5 ATS over the past five seasons, including a 48-34-0 ATS money grab in 2009-10, and they're up 1-0 on the Heat in the NBA Finals.

John Paxson/Gar Forman, Chicago Bulls

Forman took over the GM chair in May 2009, with the former Bulls sharpshooter moving into the role of VP of basketball operations. The pair has combined for one of the best five-year ATS totals in the NBA, posting a 207-181-6 ATS mark. But those paydays didn’t come without digging deep into Jerry Reinsdorf’s wallet. Over the past five years, Chicago has added $91,809,162 in player salaries – second most in the league. And, with Derrick Rose’s status for 2012-13 up in the air, Forman may have to dig a little deeper to buy a starting point guard.

R.C. Buford, San Antonio Spurs

There could be an asterisk next to Buford for this one, with former GM and current head coach Gregg Popovich having both hands buried in the cookie jar in San Antonio. The Spurs are the model franchise in the NBA in terms of money well spent, drafting, championships, and ATS success. Over the last five seasons, they’ve added $51,806,370 (20th in the NBA) and have a stellar 207-176-11 ATS record to show for it. San Antonio was the big winner during the lockout-shortened campaign, putting together 42-20-4 ATS count – not including its profitable playoff run.

Kevin O’Connor, Utah Jazz

If you want to talk thrifty, O’Connor is your man. He’s added just $37,987,595 over the last five years (23rd in the NBA), helping the Jazz to a 202-186-6 ATS record in that span. Utah went 49-30-3 ATS in 2009-10 – the eighth-best mark against the spread in the league since 2007-08. Even without a true franchise player, O’Connor put together a competitive squad that finished in the black with a 34-31-1 ATS count during this year’s 66-game schedule. He’s also a bit of a draft wizard, picking Paul Millsap (2006) and Mo Williams (2003) with the No. 47 pick in the draft. What pick do the Jazz hold this year? Well, it’s No. 47.

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