With the Washington Wizards set to take on the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, two of the best shooting guards to NOT make the all-star game will be featured.
Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal finished second in the player vote, and Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine finished 6th overall in voting for the guards. Combined they score 54.1 points per game. Neither will be in the all-star game.
While it’s a travesty big enough to get the league’s legends to debate, it’s the cold hard fact that Beal despite scoring the 5th most points in the league this season, won’t be in the all-star game. It’s absolutely idiotic because he’s been an all-star the last two seasons and is averaging career highs in points, assists, free throw attempts, and free throw percentage.
Sure, LaVine will be in the three-point contest, but he won’t grace his home floor at the United Center for the break’s big game despite career highs in points, blocks, steals, and rebounds.
The MAIN reason both of these guys were snubbed? The combined record of their teams is 37 – 68, good for a 35% win rate. In Beal’s case, here’s a few more.
But all that aside (can you tell I’m angry??), what started rolling in my mind was whether I’d rather have Bradley Beal or Zach LaVine as a central piece on my team to build around. They are 26 and 24 years old, respectively, and they’re both talented score-first guards.
So which one would be best to have?
LaVine clearly has the age advantage by a bit, and as far as contracts go, LaVine also has an edge. He’s set to make $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons with no option while Beal, following his offseason extension, is set to make a bit over $27 million this season and see his salary climb all the way to his player option in 2022-23 valued at $37,262,299.
That’s a lot of moolah, but he’s worth it. At this point, both players have played enough games to compare their career averages and Beal beats LaVine in points, turnovers, blocks, steals, assists, rebounds, three-point percentage (ever so slightly), and effective field goal percentage.
Their usage is almost exactly the same at Beal’s 26.3 compared to LaVine’s 26.1 percent. And the biggest difference between the two in advanced stats, and perhaps the biggest indictment of Zach LaVine, is in defensive win shares.
Beal’s defensive win shares? 14.1. LaVine’s? 4.7.
While Bradley Beal isn’t a defensive dynamo, LaVine is an absolute slouch. But he’s been working on that area of his game and looks a lot better on that end at times, while Beal has seen a little backslide having to carry all the offensive load for his team, if anything.
If you compare rosters on paper, Zach LaVine probably has more proven talent surrounding him, but the Bulls have been decimated by injury (as have the Wizards, of course). When Wall comes back, the Wizards are unquestionably the better team.
Either way, tonight’s tilt should be a scoring bonanza and I’d put the over/under on the total points of the two guards at like 68 points, which is insane. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch, even if it won’t happen in the all-star game.
The Wizards take on the Bulls tonight at 7 PM at Capital One Arena.
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