Assessing Bradley Beal’s All-Star Potential


Bradley Beal has been a bright spot for the Washington Wizards ever since he was drafted third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. The sharp-shooting guard from Florida has a game that screams “potential superstar.” Blessed with the ability to fill it up from anywhere on the court, he is one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of future All-Stars.

Beal is only 21 years-old and his game is still evolving. He is far from a finished product. He is averaging 15.0 points, 3.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.24 steals per-game. He shoots a tidy 42.3-percent from the field, including an eye-popping 43.6-percent from long-range. Beal has the ability to shoot from Timbuktu if he wanted to do so.

The one downside to Brad Beal’s game has been the injuries that have piled up over his first three seasons. He has missed the past three games with a toe injury which led to a medical exam that revealed a stress reaction in his lower right fibula. He has a history of similar stress reactions within the same fibula dating back to his rookie season.

He missed eight games in 2012-13 thanks to the injury, and he missed nine more in 2013-14. At this point, it looks like his leg may be more fragile than a set of fine china. Beal also missed the first nine games on this season with a broken left wrist. 

If he is going to blossom into the All-Star that everyone believes he can be, Bradley Beal’s body has to hold up.

Unless your name is Kobe Bryant, you’re not going to make the All-Star Game playing in only 20 games. I don’t know if he needs to study holistic medicine, take supplements or visit a shaman but he needs to stay on the court.

Beal already proved that he could be a legitimate scoring option before he could legally drink a beer. He made his mark on the league when he averaged 17.1 points per-game as a sophomore in 2013-14. Currently, he is one of 20 players that shoot 40-percent from the field, as well as from beyond the arc. His three-point percentage ranks ninth in the NBA.

There are two ways to make the All-Star Game.

The first is to be voted in as a starter by the fans. Usually, the fans elect to choose players who have established themselves as household names or they pick players with ties to China. Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady can thank a large portion of their All-Star votes to the great people in the Far East. If Stephon Marbury were eligible, he would be starting. Bradley Beal will have to make a name for himself during the Playoffs if he is going to receive enough votes to start next season. He received 20,526 votes this season which ranked 10th among Eastern Conference guards.

The second path to the All-Star Game is the more likely rout.

If you play well enough, consistently beat your competition and impress your conference’s Head Coaches, you will receive your shot. Right now, there are four shooting-guards that have been named an All-Star for the Eastern Conference at one time or another.

Dwayne Wade, of the Miami Heat, is the established veteran who is beginning to get a little long in the tooth. He used to be called ‘Flash’ but now he resembles ‘Crash’ because that’s what his body appears it is doing.

After pushing his body to the max night after night for a number of years, he is beginning to miss games at an alarming rate. Over the past four seasons, he has missed 121 regular season games (including the last six due to a hamstring injury). Wade is a 12-years veteran and he has 11 All-Star appearances (2015 included) to his credit but his best days are behind him. Averaging 21.4 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebound per-game, he is still an impact player but there should be a passing of the torch sooner rather than later.

It seems like the Chicago Bulls Jimmy Butler is trying to yank that torch out of Wade’s hand and run with it like he’s in the Olympics. He is the odds-on favorite to win the Most Improved Player award considering he has increased his scoring average from 13.1 to 20.4 points per-game.

He is also grabbing 5.8 boards and dishing out 3.2 dimes per-game. He may the best two-way player in the entire NBA. He is a great on-ball defender and his 1.8 steals per-game rank eighth in the Association. This year’s All-Star contest will be the first for Butler, who is in his fourth season. At 25 years old, he may be Beal’s toughest competition for the next ten years.

Ten years is less than the amount of time it took for Atlanta Hawks guard, Kyle Korver, to make his first All-Star appearance. To be precise, it took the all-world shooter 11 seasons to break through. He may be the NBA’s unlikeliest choice in the history of All-Star Weekend.

Thanks to Wade’s hamstring injury, Commissioner Adam Silver named Korver the replacement based on averages of 12.9 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds per-game. Wait… I lied, it’s actually based on the fact that the Hawks are the best team in the NBA with a 43-10 overall mark.

If I had a crystal ball, I think it would tell me that this is a one-shot deal. Don’t get me wrong, Korver is a great player (he is shooting over 50-percent from the field and three-point) but he is 33 years-old and I don’t see how he can improve moving forward.

Speaking of improving, DeMar Derozan is another young guard with endless potential. The Toronto Raptor was named an All-Star last season thanks to his 22.7 points per-game average. He has dealt with injuries this season (he missed 21 games with a groin injury) and his production slightly fell back. He is posting averages of 18.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per-game. His teammate, Kyle Lowry, was given the nod this season but DeRozan should be back in the game at some point. At 26 years-old, he has youth on his side.

Bradley Beal has as good of a shot as any young player in the league to make the jump from an on-the-cusp star to perennial All-Star. The future of the off-guard position in the East looks strong with Beal, Butler and DeRozan on the scene.

These three young players should battle for positional supremacy over the next decade. The winner will probably be the one with the better overall health over that time span.

Team success will play a role in determining who receives the majority of the nods. If one of these players can lead their team to a Championship (similar to Wade in 2006), they could forever etch themselves into the common NBA fan’s consciousness.

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