The NBA restart could not have taken place without the multitude of changes implemented to the league’s rules and regulations. Among the latest modifications is the introduction of All-Seeding Games recognition for top performers of the Orlando bubble experiment’s pre-playoffs part.
First and Second All-Seeding Games Teams and the KIA NBA Player of the Seeding Games will be selected in a similar fashion to regular season awards — those have already been decided and the winners will be announced in the coming weeks. Sportswriters and broadcasters will cast their votes and the Teams and Player of the Seeding Games will be named before the start of the Western Conference play-in on Saturday.
And just like in the case of the usual awards, NBA players are weighing in and making predictions on who might receive the recognition. Kyle Kuzma omitted his Los Angeles Lakers teammates when asked for his All-Seeding Games First Team selection.
That is not surprising considering the purple and gold started slow in Orlando, with the third-year forward emerging as one of the team’s few shining lights. But his choices could still raise one’s eyebrow given there was almost no place for Houston Rockets star, eight-time All-Star, and 2018 NBA MVP James Harden.
Asked to name his All-Seeding Games First Team, Kuzma said: “Dame, and if they get into the playoffs, I would put him as the MVP. I think Devin Booker is in there, T.J. Warren is in there. Potentially Luka. Man, that fifth one is real tough.”
As Kuzma could not come up with the final nominee, he asked the reporter who posited him with the question to name his own candidates. And only after the member of the media mentioned Harden’s name, the Lakers forward said: “Yeah, Harden.”
Harden is nearly averaging a triple-double in the Orlando bubble and trails only Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard among the best scorers with 35.3 points per game. The Rockets guard is also recording 9.2 rebounds, ranks fifth in assists (8.7 per game), and leads in steals (3.0) among players who have played at least two seeding games.
Lakers embrace potential first-round matchup with Trail Blazers
Despite naming Lillard as the main candidate to snap up the All-Seeding Games MVP award, Kuzma is not afraid of facing the dangerous scorer and his Trail Blazers if they make it to the first round of the NBA Playoffs. “I don’t think it’s worst-case scenario because we’re ready to play anybody,” he said.
Markieff Morris added: “I think by having that first-round opponent who is going to be tough, preparing us for the playoffs, I think we need that early on.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!