By Harvey Hoffman
Wizards guard Bradley Beal didn’t make the NBA All-Star team, and he’s torqued off.
He wasn’t even chosen as a reserve, and after adding to his gaudy season-long scoring totals with a 34-point night against the visiting Charlotte Hornets, ne blew off some steam:
“I’m a little pissed off about it,” Beal, a two-time All-Star, told NBC Sports Washington after the Wizards’ 121-107 victory. “I know how I am, [so] I was kind of expecting it, honestly. It’s disrespectful, but the real ones know [I’m an All-Star]. I’ll just keep competing. I’m going to try to get my team in the playoffs for sure.”
His 28.7 points per game entering Thursday ranks third in the Eastern Conference. According to research by the Elias Sports Bureau, the only player to average that many points entering the All-Star break and not be an All-Star was World B. Free in 1978-79 (minimum 25 games).
“It’s just very frustrating and disappointing for a guy to put up historic numbers, and he made the conscious decision this summer to stay the course and to play his heart out with great leadership to build something in Washington, as opposed to jumping ship to take an easier path,” Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, referring to the two-year, $72 million extension his client signed with Washington before the season. “He chose not to do that, 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 (16-31) have exceeded expectations.
“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.”
Added teammate Thomas Bryant: “He was [snubbed]. Hands down, 100 percent. This should be unexplainable. He should be a shoo-in. It’s just not right.”
When the All-Star Game starters were announced last week, Beal finished sixth among East guards despite being ranked second in the player vote as part of the weighted scoring system. Eight East reserves were picked by the coaches and announced Thursday night, with Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons among that group.
Beal wasn’t alone in his frustrations.
Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones criticized the fact his star player, Devin Booker, did not make the West team.
“I’ve played with and against multiple All-Stars in this league and Devin Booker is undoubtedly an NBA All Star,” said Jones, a 14-year NBA veteran.
Booker, who has never made an All-Star team, is averaging 27.1 points per game, fifth-most in the West, and 6.4 assists per game on 51% shooting this season. The only other players in NBA history to average 27 points and six assists on 50% shooting in a season are LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Stephen Curry and Oscar Robertson.