INDIANAPOLIS — A day after the NBA selected New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony as an injury replacement for the upcoming All-Star Game, several people have questioned the decision — including the player who was arguably the biggest snub, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
“I’ll never say a player doesn’t deserve to be on the all-star team. For one, Carmelo is a great player. Hell, he’s been one of the best offensive threats in the league for years now, and I’m taking absolutely nothing away from him. But the process of it does not make sense. If they reward winning, then I don’t understand how the decision was made,” Beal said Thursday morning. “It was kind of weird to me.”
When it was announced that Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love would miss the All-Star Game, Beal was among those considered for the open spot. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, stayed in contact with the league office and pushed for Beal. What’s more, Beal’s play as well as the 33-21 Wizards’ rise in the East standings seemed to make him a front-runner to fill the position. Instead, late Wednesday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver picked Anthony, replacing one forward with another.
“I don’t get it,” said Bartelstein, who represents numerous NBA players. “The reality of it is, if the coaches took a vote today for the guy who should be in the All-Star Game, there’s no doubt in my mind it’ll be Brad. I just think it’s wrong.
“I certainly talked to the league office. We make a strong statement all the time of how winning is rewarded, and I don’t understand. There’s no team winning at a higher level than the Wizards are right now. So Brad’s in the center of all that. Nobody can question he’s playing not just at an all-star level but at an elite all-star level.”
Although the Wizards have the best record in the Eastern Conference since Dec. 1, Bartelstein believes the league made the decision by taking into account the coaches’ voting of all-star reserves, which was announced Jan. 26. Since that point, the Wizards have an 8-1 record, as Beal has averaged 24.3 points on 55.3 percent shooting overall with a .451 percentage from beyond the three-point arc.
During that same time, the Knicks are 3-7 and Anthony has averaged 26.3 points on 46.1 percent shooting and 40.3 from the arc.
Beal and his camp aren’t the only ones questioning the selection. In a separate interview with The Washington Post on Thursday, John Calipari, who coached all-star John Wall at Kentucky and closely follows the Wizards, said: “Bradley Beal should’ve been an all-star. I can’t believe he’s not.”
Beal’s teammate Markieff Morris took to Twitter to express his disappointment.
Also before the league announced Anthony as the replacement, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson thought Beal was “snubbed originally” in the selection and should have been”very deserving to be an all-star in the East.”
Earlier this month, Beal declined an invitation for the three-point contest. Although it is unknown whether that factored into the NBA’s decision to pick Anthony, the more perplexing question is why Beal’s career year and role as the second-best player on an ascendant team didn’t merit an all-star bid.
“I don’t know what the rules are or how everything goes, but I definitely feel I had a great opportunity,” Beal said. “Being on a winning team and being able to have success and I’m playing pretty well this year, I felt like I deserved to be there, but at the end of the day it is what it is. It’s not going to determine me as a player. It’s not going to put me down for the rest of the year. … I can enjoy my break and come back full steam ahead and rolling into the playoffs.”