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Predicting the NBA Bubble MVP, All-Bubble Team

Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, TJ Warren, Michael Porter Jr., NBA All-Bubble Teams

The NBA announced it will name the Kia NBA All-Seeding Games Team and the Kia NBA Player of the Seeding Games to honor the top performers for games played from July 30–Aug. 14 during the 2019-20 season restart at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

This can be equated as the NBA Bubble MVP and the All-Bubble Team, consisting of 10 players (two teams) regardless of position or conference. Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?

Bubble MVP: Devin Booker

Stats through seven games: 31.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists per game.

There’s no player who has been more influential to his team’s record than Devin Booker. The Suns are blazing hot with a 7-0 mark in the bubble, despite being the team with the longest odds to garner a spot in this year’s playoffs. Couple that with this clutch game-winner over Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and you have yourself that signature moment to put a bow on the award.

He’s scored 35 points in four of his team’s seven games and at least 30 points in five of them. He’s also shooting a beefy 50.4% from the floor and an eye-popping 94% from the stripe.

Leading his team to the only undefeated record of the restart makes Devin Booker a no-brainer choice for the NBA Player of the Seeding Games award — or, as we like to call it, the NBA Bubble MVP.

First-Team All-Bubble

The players picked in this list will only be due to their performance in the seeding games, no prior history has been taken into account. Play-in games will not be considered and Booker, by default, is also on the list of the First Team All-Bubble.

Damian Lillard

Stats through seven games: 37.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 9.3 assists per game.

Lillard was at first uneasy about taking part in the NBA bubble if it didn’t have a realistic chance to land the Portland Trail Blazers in the playoffs, but he has made the most of his opportunity with one fantastic outing after the other.

Couple that with a 45-point outing and scoring 51 and 61 points in back-to-back games, and he has earned himself a high mention among the best players in the bubble. The Blazers are also 5-2 and have leapfrogged the Memphis Grizzlies for the highly elusive eighth spot with only one game left.

Luka Doncic

Stats through seven games (six played): 32.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 11.3 assists per game

Luka Doncic is having himself an MVP Russell Westbrook–type of bubble. Were it not for his team’s 3-4 record through seven games, he would be a legitimate candidate for NBA Bubble MVP.

The Slovenian phenom has managed to put one bombastic performance after another, scoring 34 or more points in three of his six games, ensnaring double-digit rebounds in three out of six, and recording double-digit assists in all but one of his outings throughout the restart.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Stats through seven games (six played): 27.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game

The Greek Freak is having himself a great end to what’s likely to be another MVP season, despite the Milwaukee Bucks dropping four of their seven games thus far for a 3-4 restart.

Antetokounmpo has 30-point double-doubles in four of his six outings in the bubble, the only exception being a short 16-minute outing against the Brooklyn Nets in which he shot 7-of-8 from the floor and a recent cameo against the winless Washington Wizards in which he collected 12 points and nine rebounds in 10 minutes.

T.J. Warren

Stats through six games: 31.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game

At one point Warren was the leading scorer in the NBA bubble, as his career-high 53 points to start things off made a splash after the Indiana Pacers’ first day of real competitive basketball.

Warren has been shooting the ball impeccably this restart, making 52.4 percent of his attempts from long distance. The Pacers are also 4-2 since the restart and have leapfrogged the Philadelphia 76ers for the fifth spot in the East.

Second-Team All-Bubble

This list closes out the 10 best players through the restart, starting with an MVP candidate:

James Harden

Stats through six games (five played): 33.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 8.6 assists per game

The Beard has not skipped a beat when it comes to putting the ball through the net. The scoring champ was back to his bucket-getting ways in the first game of the restart, putting up 49 points against the Dallas Mavericks in an overtime affair.

The Houston Rockets are only 4-2 through the restart, but Harden is still an All-Bubble performer as his team shifts gears in the eve of the playoffs.

Michael Porter Jr.

Stats through six games: 23.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game

The Denver Nuggets’ first-round selection has been a revelation now that he’s being afforded some playing time, making the most of a short-handed roster to showcase his abilities.

His numbers are a bit skewed due to his fluctuating playing time—but the rookie out of Missouri has put up monster numbers when given more than 30 minutes to work with, including a career-high 37 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Caris LeVert

Stats through seven games (five played): 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.2 assists per game

LeVert has quietly erupted to be the go-to man now that the Nets have gotten even more shorthanded with Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan choosing to skip out on the restart after testing positive for coronavirus.

The Michigan product has been the potent scorer and playmaker former coach Kenny Atkinson once saw during the 2017-18 season and he’s showcasing his talent ahead of a very important offseason.

Jayson Tatum

Stats through seven games: 22.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game

Jayson Tatum has had his share of inconsistent outings, but he’s been a huge part of why the Boston Celtics have raced to a 5-2 record and won four in a row as they near the playoffs. He’s made four or more 3-pointers in four of his seven starts and is shooting a ridiculous 44.9% from downtown since the restart.

DeMar DeRozan

Stats through seven games: 21.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists per game

DeMar DeRozan has been a huge part of why the San Antonio Spurs are managing to cling on to fight to keep their 22-year playoff streak alive. The Spurs are 5-2 and nipping at the heels of the Suns and the Blazers for that elusive spot in the play-in game.

The 31-year-old has shot the ball remarkably well since the restart and deserves a spot among the best 10 players of these seeding games.

Editor’s note: This has been updated with the results of all games through 8/11. 

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