The NBA announced its All-Star reserves on Thursday night, and while none of the players voted in by the coaches were shocking choices, Bradley Beal‘s exclusion from the list of Eastern Conference All-Stars came as a surprise to a number of fans and league observers.
Although Beal’s outside shooting rate has dipped this year – his .325 3PT% is a career-worst mark – he has shouldered the Wizards‘ scoring and play-making burden with John Wall out and has put up some massive numbers. His 28.7 PPG ranks third in the Eastern Conference and would be a career high. His 6.4 APG also represents the best mark of his career. Beal is arguably having a better season in 2019/20 than he did when he was named an All-Star the last two years.
However, the performance of Beal’s team cost him an All-Star spot this season. Even after a win on Thursday, Washington is just 16-31. The seven Eastern All-Star reserves were all from the top six teams in the conference — none of those clubs has a record worse than 31-18.
Despite the Wizards’ struggles, Beal and those around him still felt as if he deserved an All-Star spot. As Fred Katz of The Athletic relays, Beal’s fiancée Kamiah Adams went on the team’s post-game show and called the decision “laughable.” The Wizards guard himself addressed the snub after the game to NBC Sports Washington reporter Chris Miller (link via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington).
“I’m a little pissed off about it, but I know how I am,” Beal said. “I was kind of expecting it, honestly. It’s disrespectful. But the real ones know.”
Even Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, delivered an impassioned case for why Beal’s exclusion was the wrong decision. Bartelstein suggested to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps that his client is essentially being punished for sticking with the rebuilding Wizards instead of “jumping ship” and forcing his way to a contender.
“He chose not to (leave), and instead stayed the course — only to not be recognized as an All-Star because his team hasn’t won enough games when, in fact, the Wizards have exceeded expectations,” Bartelstein said. “It can’t be just about the gross numbers of wins and losses. It has to be, ‘What is your impact on the game?’ And so I think the coaches are sending a horrible message to players, that if you want to be loyal and go through the tough times in your organization, you’re not going to be an All-Star in those tough times.”
The All-Star case for Beal is an obvious one that centers around his impressive offensive output, but there are arguments against his case as well. For one, the Wizards’ defense has been historically bad this season. That’s not all on Beal, but his play on that end of the court hasn’t helped matters — the Wizards have a dismal 120.7 defensive rating when he plays, compared to 107.0 when he sits.
Jimmy Butler (Heat), Bam Adebayo (Heat), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Domantas Sabonis (Pacers), Ben Simmons (Sixers), and Jayson Tatum (Celtics) don’t have the gaudy counting stats that Beal does, but they’ve all been very effective on both ends of the court — many of them are candidates for All-Defensive consideration this season.
This debate may end up being moot, since even a minor injury to any one of the 12 Eastern All-Stars within the next couple weeks could open up the door for Beal to be named an All-Star anyway. But for now, he’s on the outside looking in, so we want to know what you think of the decision.
Did the coaches voting on the East’s All-Star reserves make a mistake? Should Beal an All-Star? If so, which of the other seven Eastern reserves would you remove from the roster to make room for Beal?
Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!
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