Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard wins bubble MVP; Suns' Monty Williams named top coach – ESPN
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was unanimously voted the Most Valuable Player of the seeding games portion of the NBA’s attempt to restart its season inside the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Lillard, who led all players in the bubble with an average of 37.6 points per game over the eight seeding games, carried Portland to a 6-2 record and the eighth seed in the league’s first-ever play-in tournament, which the Blazers begin Saturday against the ninth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
Lillard, who also averaged 9.6 assists, scored 51, 61 and 42 points over Portland’s final three games to carry the Blazers into the seeding games, and he clearly set himself above the field of contenders for top honors inside the bubble as a result.
He was followed in the voting by guard Devin Booker, who led the Phoenix Suns to a perfect 8-0 record inside the bubble, and Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren, who scored 53 points in his opening game against the Philadelphia 76ers and averaged 31 points over the eight seeding games.
Suns coach Monty Williams was the near unanimous choice for the league’s top coach inside the bubble, with Portland’s Terry Stotts getting the lone other first-place vote.
Lillard, Booker and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic each were unanimously named to the All-Bubble first team, while Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Warren each received 18 first-team votes to claim the other two spots.
The second team consisted of the NBA’s reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis, Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert and Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr.
The eight seeding games did not count toward the NBA’s traditional season-long awards. The winners of those honors will be announced by the NBA throughout the playoffs, which officially begin Monday.