OKC Thunder: NBA awards voting begins
Dennis Schroder's case for Sixth Man of the Year can neither be strengthened nor weakened in the next three weeks as the regular season concludes.
The NBA announced Tuesday that awards voting will not include the eight "seeding games" that will be played July 30 through Aug. 14 at Disney World. The seeding games will count as regular season games, and regular season statistics will still be accumulated, but awards voting will end before the season resumes.
"The decision to exclude seeding games from awards voting ensures a fair process in which players and coaches from all 30 NBA teams will have the same opportunity to be honored as top performers for the 2019-20 regular season," said Byron Spruell, NBA president of league operations.
Only 22 teams are participating in the season restart in Orlando.
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Awards voting from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters will be conducted now through next Tuesday.
Billy Donovan is a Coach of the Year candidate after leading the Thunder to a surprise 40-24 record, and several Thunder players are in contention for awards.
Schroder is a frontrunner to win Sixth Man of the Year. The 26-year-old point guard leads the NBA in bench scoring. Schroder is averaging 19 points per game while shooting a career-high 46.8% from the field.
Schroder plans to leave the NBA bubble sometime in early August for the birth of his second child. He's likely to miss a chunk of the Thunder's eight seeding games, but his absence won't affect his Sixth Man of the Year chances.
Thunder point guard Chris Paul could land on one of the three All-NBA teams. Paul has been named All-NBA eight times in his career.
Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a Most Improved Player candidate, but second-year players don't traditionally win the award.