Keely Diven

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2019 NBA All-Star Game Voting Update: Real uncertainty around Bradley Beal making the All-Star team

2019 NBA All-Star Game Voting Update: Real uncertainty around Bradley Beal making the All-Star team

The latest tallies of All-Star fan voting were released on Thursday. The numbers aren't kind to Wizards star Bradley Beal, who earned his first All-Star berth last season.

In the first round of fan voting, Beal was ranked 9th among Eastern Conference guards ahead of John Wall in the 10th spot. Now Beal has slipped to 10th, having been leapfrogged by the Heat's Goran Dragic, who has only played 14 games this season. 

Fan voting only counts for 50-percent of the equation in choosing two backcourt players and three frontcourt players as All-Star starters. Coaches select reserves for the remaining seven roster spots on each team (usually three or four backcourt players, three or four frontcourt players), so Beal's best chances of an All-Star berth lie with them anyway. That's how he got in last year. 

That path is a lot less certain for Beal this time around–despite the fact that he's having the best statistical season of his career with 24.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG–because of Dwyane Wade and Ben Simmons. 

Wade, 36, is a legend by this point in his career, but he's no longer a starting-caliber player. That won't stop nostalgic fans from voting him to the All-Star starting lineup, though. He's second in fan voting among Eastern Conference guards behind Kyrie Irving. 

Let's assume those two players take the two starting guard spots. That leaves three or four more roster spots for reserve guards in the East. The players in contention are:

Kemba Walker
Ben Simmons
Victor Oladipo
Kyle Lowry
Zach LaVine
Jeremy Lin
Goran Dragic
Bradley Beal

This list includes 6-10 Simmons, who is considered a guard despite his height and hybrid role. Simmons' classification as a backcourt player could be the factor that costs Beal his second straight All-Star appearance. 

That's because Walker, Simmons and Oladipo are virtual locks to make the team, leaving one final guard spot undecided unless coaches decide to choose five backcourt players (unlikely). Beal–at least statistically–is having a better season than LaVine, Lin and Dragic, but would have to beat out Lowry for that last slot. 

Beal might be able to do so on individual statistics alone, but coaches don't select players in a vaccuum. The Wizards are struggling through a disappointing season with a 17-25 record. Meanwhile, Lowry is big reason the Raptors have the second best record in the NBA. 

It seems an injury to another guard would be the only way Beal could sneak onto the All-Star roster with both Wade and Simmons.


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Wizards announce Markieff Morris will be out at least 6 weeks with transient cervical neuropraxia

Wizards announce Markieff Morris will be out at least 6 weeks with transient cervical neuropraxia

The Wizards announced Thursday that Markieff Morris will miss at least 6 weeks after a specialist diagnosed him with transient cervical neuropraxia. 

The team statement followed a consultation with a specialist this week. 

After consultation between Dr. Dossett and Wizards Director of Medical Services and Orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, Morris has been diagnosed with transient cervical neuropraxia. He will be limited to non-contact basketball activities for the next six weeks, after which he is expected to be cleared to return to full basketball activities.

Once cleared for full basketball activities, he should be able to return to practice with the team and work his way back to playing in games. 

Morris has suffered neck and upper back stiffness since taking an elbow to the chin from LeBron James on the Wizards' December 16 win over the Lakers. 

Washington is already besieged by injuries to core players, having lost All-Star John Wall for the season to heel surgery.

Projected starting center Dwight Howard is out indefinitely after back surgery, as well. Otto Porter is working his way back from a knee strain and returned Wednesday against the Hawks in limited minutes. 

Morris has been productive for the Wizards since transitioning to a bench role. Overall, he has averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season. 

In a moment of irony, Morris' twin brother Marcus is also dealing with neck soreness at present. 

Stayed tuned for more analysis.

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Markieff Morris surprised himself with that viral backwards pass

Markieff Morris surprised himself with that viral backwards pass

Markieff Morris dropped jaws on NBA Twitter Monday night with a backwards outlet pass to Bradley Beal. Truth be told, it was more of a fling or a heave than a true pass.

But it was perfection. Morris hit an in-stride Beal, who threw it ahead to John Wall for the lefty slam. 

The sheer novelty of the play attracted plenty of attention and hundreds of thousands of views on Twitter. ESPN's Scott Van Pelt even used it as his "Best Thing I Saw Today" segment on SportsCenter. 

Turns out the moment was pretty novel to Morris, too. In fact, he didn't really expect to pull it off. It just sorta ... worked out?

“The perfect part is I didn’t think that was gonna happen," he told the assembled media after Washington's 110-107 win over the Knicks. "[Explative], we’re just playing free. If they would’ve stole it or whatever, we get back on defense.”

Wall benefitted from Morris' gamble, but wasn't ready to fawn all over the pass. "It wasn't as good as mine in Atlanta that year, but it was pretty cool," he said. 

Here's video of the pass Wall was referring to. Fans, and maybe Van Pelt, will have to decide for themselves which one was more impressive.