It appears that the NBA MVP and Rookie of the Year races have been settled — along with every other individual award.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, games in the bubble won’t count in voting toward those awards along with Sixth Man, Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
“The decision to exclude seeding games from awards voting ensures a fair process in which players and coaches from all 30 teams will have the same opportunity to be honored,” an NBA memo reads, according to the report.
Sorry, Zion (and Zion bettors)
That probably shifts Zion Williamson’s chances of catching Ja Morant in the Rookie of the Year race from slim to none. Prior to Friday’s news, Morant was the heavy favorite to win the award, listed at -5000 with MGM.
But some liked Williamson as a value play at +1200, betting on his ability to push the New Orleans Pelicans into the playoffs. Those bettors are likely out of luck with Friday’s report.
It’s not clear how the league intends to enforce the mandate. Media members vote on these awards. Unless the voting is tallied before the NBA restart, there will be no way to remove the influence of the remaining games in voters’ decisions, whether conscious or not.
The league will announce the voting process soon. If it truly wants to remove the bubble games from the mix, those ballots need to be ready soon.
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