WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards reacts against the Toronto Raptors on January 13, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Beal's career year worthy of another All-Star nod

When the 2019 NBA All-Star Game starters are revealed on Thursday, it’s possible that Bradley Beal will not be among the 10 players announced. The fan vote accounts for 50% of the decision on starters, and Beal ranks tenth among Eastern Conference guards in the latest voting tally. The fan voting has historically been considered a popularity contest, and the popularity of a few players can greatly manipulate who ends up starting. Still, there are plenty of people out there, including ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who named Beal as a starter in the 2019 All-Star Game this season.

Even if Beal does not get the starting nod, it seems highly likely the coaches will vote him in as an All-Star reserve for the second straight season. Through 46 games, Beal is averaging career-highs in points (24.7), rebounds (5.0), and assists (5.0) per game. His 24.7 points rank 13th overall in the NBA and sixth in the East this season. Beal has 36 games of 20 or more points, and joins Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, and Kyrie Irving as the only guards to average 20-plus points, four-plus rebounds, four-plus assists, and 45.0% shooting or better this season.

In January alone, Beal is seventh overall in the NBA and leads all Eastern Conference guards in scoring at 29.0 points per game. Beal is also shooting 40.8% from deep, grabbing 5.3 rebounds, and dishing out 6.2 assists. The 25-year old All-Star has two 40-point triple-doubles in the past month (12/22 vs. PHX, 1/11 vs. TOR), as well as an Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor in early December.

Behind the impressive statistics, step-backs, and 3-pointers is just simply an impenetrable willingness to win. Whether it’s taking a charge from Joel Embiid, chasing loose balls, or diving for a ball, Beal’s desire to taste victory after every game is contagious. That extra effort and will helps make Beal one of this team’s leaders, something he has embraced.

“He knows he's an All-Star; he knows he's one of the best players in the league,” head coach Scott Brooks says of Beal. “He knows he's one of the best two-way players in the league. All you got to do is just go out there and compete and things are going to end up working for yourself.

“Brad plays the right way. He competes and he gives us a chance every night. He knows when he steps on the court he's one of the best players on the floor.”

The “right way” is often taught at a young age to developing basketball players. Coaches instill the fundamentals of the game – making the pass to the open man, taking open shots that a player considers makeable, communicating and helping on defense, and filling lanes on the fast break.

Playing the right way and making the correct play at the NBA level is another level of development, and a level that Beal has now reached. After being known as a shooter, he then became a scorer, a stronger defender, and now a playmaker.

“I just trust my teammates to be able to make the right play – I don’t have to score every time I have the ball, or shoot the ball every time I have it,” Beal explained about the way he plays. “For me, it’s just making the right play.”

Beal’s impact for the Wizards has been substantial, especially with John Wall, Dwight Howard, and Markieff Morris missing significant time. Without those three projected starters, Beal was obviously going to be asked to do more. Still, Beal has not tried to do it all by himself – he trusts his teammates and relies on them to accomplish their goals.

“I can’t sit here and try to do it all on my own because there’s no way I’ll be able to,” Beal says. “It’s a matter of trusting my teammates no matter what it looks like. We have to get the win. If I have [a few] points, as long as we win that’s what matters.”

Trevor Ariza played with Beal during his first stint with the Wizards, which were Beal’s first two NBA seasons. Beal has clearly revolutionized his game and become an even better player and leader. Since returning to Washington during this 2018-19 season, Ariza has praised Beal for what he’s become and how he’s a leader of this team.

“He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Ariza said. “We all see that – [Brad] being one of the leaders on this team, and everybody else just falls in line and plays the same way. When he’s doing things like that and playing on both ends of the floor, it’s contagious. You see what he’s doing and want to do the same.”

Whether Beal is named a starter or reserve or somehow snubbed of the 2019 All-Star Game, he’s been playing at an elevated level worthy of some of the NBA’s highest honors. The Wizards are playing much better as of late, winners of seven of their last 10 games and 12 of their last 15 home games. Beal’s growth and impact is being noticed around the NBA, and hopefully that will culminate in another All-Star nod.

Below you will find the rest of the WashingtonWizards.com team’s picks for the 2019 All-Star Game.

B = backcourt; F = frontcourt; WC = wild card

Zach Rosen

East Starters

B: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal
F: Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid

East Reserves

B: Kemba Walker, Victor Oladipo
F: Blake Griffin, Nikola Vucevic, Khris Middleton
WC: Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons

West Starters

B: James Harden, Stephen Curry
F: Kevin Durant, Paul George, LeBron James

West Reserves

B: Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook
F: Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic
WC: DeMar DeRozan, Karl Anthony-Towns

Chris Gehring

East Starters

B: Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker
F: Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid

East Reserves

B: Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo
F: Blake Griffin, Nikola Vucevic, Khris Middleton
WC: Kyle Lowry, Ben Simmons

West Starters

B: James Harden, Stephen Curry
F: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, LeBron James

West Reserves

B: Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook
F: Paul George, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic
WC: LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl Anthony-Towns

Ryan Disdier

East Starters

B: Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid

East Reserves

B: Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal
F: Blake Griffin, Khris Middleton, Nikola Vucevic
WC: Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry

West Starters

B: Stephen Curry, James Harden
F: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic

West Reserves

B: Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook
F: LeBron James, Paul George, Rudy Gobert
WC: Karl-Anthony Towns, Luka Doncic

Jacob Raim

East Starters

B: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid

East Reserves

B: Kemba Walker, Ben Simmons
F: Blake Griffin, Khris Middleton, Nikola Vucevic
WC: Victor Oladipo, D’Angelo Russell

West Starters

B: Stephen Curry, James Harden
F: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, LeBron James

West Reserves

B: Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan
F: Karl-Anthony Towns, Paul George, Nikola Jokic
WC: Rudy Gobert, Tobias Harris

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