Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal believes he was snubbed from the NBA All-Star Game. He must avoid devastation and use the snub as motivation.
Since Jan. 1, only the Golden State Warriors have been better than the Washington Wizards. That may seem hyperbolic, but the goal is to win games and Washington has done it at a genuinely elite level.
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Unfortunately, winning wasn’t rewarded when the injury replacement was announced for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love was honored with his fourth career All-Star Game appearance in 2017. Unfortunately, the veteran power forward underwent arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after his selection and was thus ruled out of the All-Star Game.
With Love out, a replacement needed to be named.
The likes of Carmelo Anthony, Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, and Hassan Whiteside were all regarded as viable candidates to replace Love. After days of deliberation, it was Anthony who was selected as Love’s injury replacement.
“I’ll never say a player doesn’t deserve to be on the all-star team. For one, Carmelo is a great player. Hell, he’s been one of the best offensive threats in the league for years now, and I’m taking absolutely nothing away from him. But the process of it does not make sense. If they reward winning, then I don’t understand how the decision was made,” Beal said Thursday morning. “It was kind of weird to me.”
Whether or not you agree with Beal’s take on the matter, he makes valid points.
Washington is currently the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference at 34-21. It has the second-best record in the NBA since Jan. 1 at 17-5 and has the third-best record in the NBA since Dec. 1 at 28-10.
Anthony’s Knicks, meanwhile, are No. 12 in the Eastern Conference at 23-34 overall, as well as 14-25 since Dec. 1 and 7-17 since Jan. 1.
It’s also worth noting that Beal and the Wizards are 3-0 in head-to-head matchups with the Knicks during the 2016-17 season.
Whether or not Beal is in the right, it’s imperative that he pushes through this disappointing outcome. He’s in the midst of the best year of his career and is helping the Wizards climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
The last thing Beal can afford to do is lose sight of the team’s mission in response to what could justifiably be perceived as an All-Star snub.
Without Beal, the Wizards aren’t nearly as dangerous—a fact that rings true on both ends of the floor. Washington has a team-best net rating of +8.6 when Beal is on the court and a team-worst net rating of -7.3 when he isn’t.
The Wizards also have offensive ratings of 112.1 with Beal and 100.6 without him, and defensive ratings of 103.5 with Beal and 107.9 without him.
When one acknowledges how valuable Beal is to the Wizards, only two rational determinations can be made. The first is that a powerful case can be made that Beal was a legitimate snub from the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
The second is that Washington will only realize its potential if Beal continues to improve at his current rate.
Beal is currently averaging 22.2 points, 3.7 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 2.9 3-point field goals made per game on a slash line of .473/.402/.811. Beyond the numbers, All-Star teammate John Wall went as far as calling Beal a lockdown defender.
Whether or not that label fits, what’s made this season special for Washington is Beal joining Wall as a legitimate two-way star.