We're just around the corner from the 2020 NBA All-Star game, except you won't be seeing a player from the Nation's capital this year. Despite being selected in the previous two All-Star games, Washington Wizards' star shooting guard, Bradley Beal, didn't receive an invitation to come to Chicago. Is he injured? No. Is he having an off-year, just the opposite.
Through 45 games this season, Beal is averaging 29.5 points and 6.3 assists per game, both career highs. He is also shooting a healthy 84.2% from the free-throw line, another personal best. At age 26, Beal is clearly in the prime of his NBA career, which is why I don't understand why he isn't All-Star caliber.
Many will say it's because the Wizards are currently 19-33, just outside of playoff contention in a weak Eastern Conference. My response to this reasoning is two-folded. First, a team's record should never be held against a players' eligibility for an All-Star game. I understand that the NBA doesn't have the luxury of being able to represent all its teams in the All-Star game, like the NFL or MLB, due to roster constraints. However, this doesn't mean we should then change our mindset as voters and only pick players on playoff-eligible teams, because we see them more on prime-time television, or we view them through a "winner's mentality" lens. The fact of the matter is there are a bunch of NBA superstars stuck on rebuilding rosters who share the same desire to win.
Secondly, I'd argue it's even harder to maintain great seasonal statistics on a rebuilding roster, because every other NBA team knows to scheme against you in order to win. In order to beat the Wizards, you have to put your best defender on Beal so that he doesn't drop 40 points or more. The fact that Beal has been able to fight through this adversity to the tune of almost 30 points a night is incredible!
It's well known too that the Western Conference contains more competitive organizations than the East. To demonstrate, just look at the current 8th seeds in each conference. The playoff eligible Memphis Grizzles in the West have a 27-26 record, whereas the playoff-eligible Orlando Magic in the East have a 23-31 record. With the All-Star game requiring 50 percent of its players from each conference, Beal should've stood out like a sore thumb compared to his counterparts like Kemba Walker, who is a 2020 NBA All-Star point guard from the Boston Celtics, despite having poorer points, assists, and rebounds per game than Beal.
The NBA All-Star selection process goes as follows: 50 percent comes from a fan vote and the other 50 percent comes from NBA media member and current player votes. I think we all need to open our minds to vote for clear stars on all rosters, small and large market teams alike. Otherwise, players like Beal, or Chicago Bulls' shooting guard, Zach LaVine, are robbed of an All-Star accolade that helps define their NBA career.