The NBA says the eight games remaining in the Orlando bubble won’t factor in determining the season awards race.
The league notified teams on Friday that none of the seeding games will be taken into consideration for any postseason award.
The voting for honors such as All-NBA, rookie of the year, defensive player of the year, etc, will be completed before the July 30 restart of the season at Walt Disney Resort.
While the votes for these awards are cast near the end of the regular season, the postseason races are still alive.
“The decision to exclude seeding games from award voting ensures a fair process in which players and coaches from all 30 teams will have the same opportunity to be honored as top performers for the regular season,” the NBA wrote in a memo sent to all teams on Friday.
With that decision, Giannis Antetokounpo’s bid for back-to-back MVP awards officially ended four months ago when the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also affected by this decision is New Orleans Pelicans rookie star Zion Willamson.
Since Williamson only appeared in 19 games this season, he will not have a chance to catch Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant, who will likely take the rookie of the year award.
At this time, it is unclear if Zion will even play on the Pelicans July 30 opening night against the Utah Jazz.
Willamson left the bubble for “an urgent family medical matter,” and he intends on returning at an unspecified date.
Statistical titles such as scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals are all technically still up for grabs through mid-August.
Houston Rocket’s star James Harden has a commanding lead on what looks like a third straight scoring title, becoming the seventh player in NBA history to win the award three straight years.
Cavaliers center Andre Drummond leads the way in rebounds by a good margin, and Lakers star LeBron Jame could remain in the lead for the assists title ahead of Hawks guard Trae Young.
James could have zero assists during the eight-game restart and still lead the way.
The steals race remains uncertain, with Sixers star Ben Simmons leading the way with 2.13 steals per game, and Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn in second place with 1.98 steals per game.