Bradley Beal selected to second straight All-Star Game
Wizards guard Bradley Beal was named an All-Star for the second straight year Thursday after Eastern Conference coaches selected him as a reserve.
Beal wasn’t named a starter last week, but his selection was an expected given this season. The 26-year-old has averaged a career-high 24.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He’s carried the Wizards’ offense following John Wall’s season-ending heel injury last month.
The NBA’s All-Star Game will take place Feb. 17 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
“Im honored to represent the D.C. Family at All-Star Weekend and Im blessed to share this honor with my teammates, coaches and the entire organization and our fans, Beal said in a statement. “The support they have all given me throughout the year has been inspiring and makes me determined to do everything possible to continue our playoff push after enjoying the festivities in Charlotte.”
Beal was voted in as a reserve alongside Detroit’s Blake Griffin, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo in the East.
Oladipo is out for the year with a knee injury and will be replaced.
Beal won’t be playing with all of them. The NBA’s All-Star format was changed last year, so that players are drafted by the two players who received the most votes instead of a conventional East vs. West matchup.
This year, the Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo will draft their teammates with each taking a turn to make a pick. The draft will be televised Feb. 7 on TNT.
Beal has earned high praise from other coaches this season. Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse complimented Beal’s footwork, saying it was among the best in the league. The Warriors’ Steve Kerr said Beal was playing at an unbelievable level.
“He is absolutely one of the best guards in the league,” Kerr said.
Beal’s selection comes on a day when Wizards owner Ted Leonsis declared his team would not trade Beal, Wall and Otto Porter all of whom are the Wizards’ highest-paid players. Washington is seven games under .500 and others wondered if the Wizards would make a move to shake up their core.
Leonsis said his team will “stay the course” for the rest of the season. Leonsis has said the Wizards will “never, ever tank” and the expectation this season is to make the playoffs.
The league’s trade deadline is also on Feb.7.
“I love when (fans) go, ‘Trade Bradley Beal, trade John Wall, trade Otto Porter,’” Leonsis told WTOP. “And I go, ‘Okay, for who?’ We’re not trading any of those players.”
The Wizards are 22-29 this season and sit 2 games back of the eighth seed.
This is Beal’s seventh season in the NBA. Drafted third overall in 2012, he overcame injuries earlier in his career to become perhaps the Wizards’ most reliable player, now with Wall missing significant time in each of the last two seasons.
Last season, Beal embraced the challenge of playing without Wall and his game has improved since then. Earlier this month, he said he’s better at reading defenses and handling the added attention.
Since Wall’s latest absence, Beal has scored 27.5 points per game, shooting 45.8 percent from the field.