Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal’s All-NBA resume is as good as ever

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The past few seasons have had to be tough on Bradley Beal. And they certainly haven’t been made better when All-NBA teams have been announced. Beal has been a borderline snub each of the last two seasons after being left off of the All-NBA teams despite some incredible campaigns. During the 2018-19 season, Beal averaged 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. He was the first player to do that in Washington Wizards franchise history. Not good enough for All-NBA. Last season, he averaged over 30 points per game and led the East in scoring. Not good enough for All-NBA. This season, though, that should change.

Bradley Beal has been good enough for the Washington Wizards to secure an All-NBA selection.

This season, Beal didn’t just average more than 30 points per game for a second consecutive season, 31.3 to be exact. Nor did he simply lead the Eastern Conference in scoring for a second consecutive season. He did it all while posting the second-best true shooting percentage of his career (59.3 percent). He’s proven undoubtedly that he’s an All-NBA scorer.

If winning was the issue during the past two seasons when Beal got snubbed, then he fixed that issue to a degree. The Wizards did finish with a losing record, but Beal got the Wizards to the playoffs. And the Wizards certainly weren’t winning anything without him. The Wizards were 2-10 in the 12 games Beal missed.

You could say Beal was putting up empty stats that past couple of seasons; big numbers that meant nothing for a team turning in L after L. But Beal was impactful this season. There’s no doubt about it. With Beal on the floor, the Wizards were 12.5 points better per 100 possessions on offense, an offensive on/off differential nearly twice as high as that of any other Wizard. Only Nikola Jokic (16.8), Trae Young (13.8), and Draymond Green (12.6) elevated their respective offenses to a larger degree.

Beal’s not a shoo-in for All-NBA. The competition is stiff, and there are only six guard spots up for grabs. But the resume Beal turned in this season usually warrants an All-NBA nod. If Beal misses the cut, it’ll be just the sixth time in NBA history that a player who averaged at least 30 points per game doesn’t get an All-NBA nod, assuming Stephen Curry is named to his seventh All-NBA team. Speaking of Curry, there may be no better example of why Beal deserves All-NBA than the Warriors’ guard.

Steph Curry narrowly edged out Beal for the scoring title thanks to an overwhelming end of the season. Curry averaged 37 points per game over the final 23 games of the season and was an MVP finalist, although he lost to Jokic. Beal was rightfully left out of the MVP conversation, but his numbers and impact weren’t that far off from what Curry was doing for the Warriors. Per 100 possessions, the Warriors were12.4 points better on offense with Curry on the court, nearly identical to Beal’s on/off swing for the Wizards (12.5). The two had scoring averages within a point of each other (32.0 and 31.3). But there was one noticeable difference between the two this season. Beal played postseason basketball while Curry did not.

If Curry was considered worthy of MVP consideration with numbers that nearly mirrored Beal’s and less team success, then Beal is, at the very least, worthy of an All-NBA selection.

If Beal is left off the All-NBA teams again this season, he’ll become the only player to suffer such a fate twice after averaging at least 30 points for an entire season. In that sense, history is on Beal’s side. More times than not, Beal’s 2020-21 season has been All-NBA caliber. If he is rightfully selected, Beal will be the first Wizard to do so since John Wall made All-NBA third team in 2017. If he isn’t, he’ll be atop the snub lists…again.

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