Prior to the 2019-20 NBA season getting restarted inside Disney World late last month, the league announced that the seeding games would not count towards regular season awards. MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and all the other major honors will be decided based on the play prior to the league shutting down on March 11.
But while the seeding games won’t impact those award races, players’ performances in the bubble won’t go unrecognized. Early on Tuesday afternoon, the league announced that there will be special, one-time honors for the seeding games, which will be announced on Saturday afternoon, ahead of Game 1 of the play-in tournament.
Via the league’s press release:
The NBA announced today that it will name the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games Team and the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games to honor top performers for games played July 30-August 14 during the 2019-20 season restart at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
A panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who have been on site covering the season restart will select the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games Team and the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games. The media panel will vote for five players for the All-Seeding Games First Team and five players for the All-Seeding Games Second Team, choosing a total of 10 players at any position from either conference.
These awards are a cool decision by the NBA. This has been a unique, difficult situation for everyone involved, and the play deserves to be remembered in some way, especially since it’s been such high-level, exciting action. And sure, Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games doesn’t exactly have the same ring as MVP, but this will hopefully never happen again, which means this trophy will be one of a kind. Whoever wins will have bragging rights forever.
Here’s a look at a few candidates for Player of the Seeding Games:
Pretty much everyone was confused about why Booker and the Suns were even invited to the bubble, but they’ve made the most of their opportunity, starting off 6-0. Booker has been phenomenal, putting up 30.3 points and six assists per game, while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, and also hit a buzzer-beater over Paul George and the Clippers.
As a team, the Mavericks haven’t been all that impressive inside the bubble, but Doncic certainly has been on an individual level. He’s putting up 33.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 11.6 assists, which has him tied for the scoring lead, and makes him the only player averaging a triple-double. Plus, he had the best single performance, putting up 36 points, 14 rebounds and 19 assists on the Bucks.
Lillard has led the Blazers all season long, and that hasn’t stopped in the restart. He dropped 51 points the other day to get them past the Philadelphia 76ers. Scoring a cool 33 points per game, and dishing out 9.5 assists, he’s led the Blazers to a 4-2 mark in the seeding games, and has them well-positioned to grab the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Warren has always been able to score, but he’s rarely done it like this. At 31 points per game, he’s tied for fourth-best in the seeding games, and is doing it with ridiculous efficiency: 57.8 percent from the field, 52.4 percent from 3-point land and 88.9 percent from the line. Thanks to Warren’s strong play, the Pacers are 4-2 in Orlando, and could still finish in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.