NBA Announces Bubble Awards
The NBA's regular season awards might not factor in bubble performances, but there will be recognition for the players who showed up and showed out in Orlando.
The NBA said Tuesday that it will name both a bubble MVP and an All-Bubble team, voted on by the media.
And with that, here are a few of the names that have stood out in the bubble so far:
Damian Lillard, Portland
The Portland Trail Blazers entered the bubble fighting for their playoff lives. However, they are officially in 8th place after Tuesday's win over Dallas.
And superstar point guard Damian Lillard has been the catalyst.
After scoring 51 in Sunday's win over Philadelphia, Lillard dropped 61 on Tuesday, leading the Blazers to a 5-2 record so far. He also scored 45 in a win over Denver last Thursday, and is now averaging 37.0 in the bubble.
According to FOX Bet, Lillard's odds of winning bubble MVP are set at +350.
James Harden, Houston
Harden was the league's leading scorer when the season was interrupted in March and he has picked up right where he left off in Orlando.
In five bubble outings, Harden is averaging 33.4 points, including a 49-point showing in a win over Dallas on July 31 and a 39-point outing in a win over the Lakers last Thursday. Houston is 4-1 in those games.
In addition, this past week, Harden was named a finalist for the regular season NBA MVP award.
Devin Booker, Phoenix
Devin Booker made his first All-Star appearance this season, while shooting a career-best from the field (48.8%) and free-throw line (91.9%).
But he's taken his game to an even higher level in the bubble – just ask the Clippers.
As of Tuesday morning, Booker is avergaing 31.0 points per game in Orlando and has the Suns as the surprise of the restart with a 7-0 record, placing them as the lone remaining unbeaten team.
The Suns are currently a half game behind Memphis for the 8th seed and are tied with Portland for the 9th seed.
Booker's odds for bubble MVP are currently +200.
T.J. Warren, Indiana
If the Phoenix Suns are the surprise team of the bubble, Warren is the surprise individual performer.
Warren has taken the bubble by storm, averaging 30.6 points, a near 11-point increase over his season average of 19.8. In six games, Warren has scored 30 or more four times, including a 53-point outburst against the Sixers on Aug. 1.
Warren's odds for MVP currently sit at +175.
Luka Doncic, Dallas
The 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year exploded into an early season MVP candidate this season, making his first All-Star appearance and putting up historic numbers in the process.
Doncic has put together three triple-doubles in the bubble, and he is averaging 32.0 points, 11.3 assists and 11.0 rebounds in Orlando.
Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. has seen an uptick in minutes for the Denver Nuggets with both Will Barton and Gary Harris Jr. out due to lingering injuries.
Porter Jr. was the top high school recruit in the country before a serious back injury derailed his freshman season at Mizzou in 2017 and caused him to slip the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
However, in Orlando, he has looked every bit of the highly-touted prospect he was hailed to be, averaging 23.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in six games.
Porter Jr.'s odds at MVP are currently +500.