NBA Announces Bubble Awards

The NBA announced Tuesday that it will introduce new honors and awards to recognize players for their games in the bubble.

What We Know:

  • The NBA will name a Player of the Seeding Games – essentially an MVP of the bubble – and it will name 10 players to All-Seeding Games Teams. The awards will be announced on August 15th. Media members and broadcasters in Orlando will vote to decide who wins these awards.
  • The bubble format and the external pressure of the pandemic have made this season unlike any other, and several players have really risen to the challenge and outplayed expectations. There are the usual performers like James Harden, Luka Doncic, and Damian Lillard. All of them made the All-Star team and will likely make an All-NBA team for the 2019-2020 season, and they’ve continued their incredible play in the bubble. There are also guys like T.J. Warren, Devin Booker, and Michael Porter Jr. who have elevated their play significantly and have been breakout stars of the bubble.
  • The NBA previously announced a list of finalists for its 2019-2020 season awards. These awards have already been voted on and the seeding games in Orlando will count towards them. Likewise, the All-NBA and All-Defensive Team honors will not include the seeding games and have already been voted on.
  • Two players that really deserve a lot of credit for these seeding games are Damian Lillard and Devin Booker. Both the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns came into the bubble on the outside of the playoff picture. Lillard and Booker have carried their respective teams back into playoff contention and have done everything they can to avoid elimination. The Suns came into the bubble with the lowest possible odds of making the playoffs, but Devin Booker has led them to a 7-0 record and within one game of the 9th seed, which would trigger a play-in game for the playoffs. Booker has averaged 31 points a game in the bubble and the Suns are the only team to remain undefeated. Meanwhile, Damian Lillard scored 51 points and 61 points in back-to-back crucial wins to lift the Blazers into the 8th seed and save their season.

The NBA playoffs start on August 17th. The western conference race for the 8th and 9th seeds is tighter than ever, with four teams still in play with one game left. Whoever ends up in the 8th and 9th seeds will play at least one play-in game for the final playoff spot.