The injury to Kevin Love has created an opening for the All-Star Game in the East, and Bradley Beal is likely on the short list that commissioner Adam Silver will choose from for a replacement for the Feb. 19 showcase in New Orleans.
Beal is on the third-place team in the conference that has only one All-Star in John Wall. He's averaging career highs in points (22.3), assists (3.7) and overall field-goal shooting (47.2%). A recent surge in three-point shooting has Beal at 40%, just one full point shy of another career-high.
"He's well-deserving to be an All-Star," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "It's definitely going to happen soon. But how knows? ... I don't like to politick for him but I think his game basically says he's right there and the way we've been playing the last two-and-a-half months says he's right there. But if he's not he will be there soon."
Beal turned down an invitation to participate in the three-point shootout on Saturday because he didn't make the cut for the team, preferring to rest instead.
When the reserves were announced, the coaches selected four point guards: Wall, Kyle Lowry, Isaiah Thomas and Kemba Walker. The only shooting guard on the team is DeMar DeRozan.
Love, however, is a post player and if Silver wants to balance the guard-heavy roster that would knock Beal out of the running.
A case can be made for Boston Celtics center/forward Al Horford though his numbers don't compare (14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds). He's the second-best player on the second-best team in the East. Andre Drummond has the stats with 14.7 points and 13.9 rebounds as a center but the Detroit Pistons are four games under .500. Hassan Whiteside even has better digits for the Miami Heat (16.7 points, 14.7 rebounds) but the center's team is eight games under .500.
Although Carmelo Anthony hasn't had an All-Star season and is on the putrid New York Knicks, there's a respect factor that goes into the decision by a commissioner. Anthony, who is a nine-time All-Star, has 23.2 points and 6.1 rebounds on a team 10 games under .500.
Love's first All-Star selection came as a then-commisioner David Stern's pick in 2011 when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves to replace the injured Yao Ming in the West.
In 2012, Rajon Rondo was named as the replacement for an injured Joe Johnson while still a member of the Boston Celtics..
In 2013, Stern picked Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez to replace the injured Rondo.
In 2014, Anthony Davis, who plays for the host New Orleans Pelicans, made his first All-Star Game when Stern chose him to fill in for the injured Kobe Bryant.
There were four replacement players in 2015 in Silver's first year at the helm: DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings replaced Bryant (injured) for his first selection; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard replaced the injured Blake Griffin; Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks made his only appearance in place of Dwyane Wade; and Davis couldn't play so Dirk Nowtizki of the Dallas Mavericks was chosen.
Last year, Al Horford, then of the Hawks, subbed in for Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol, then with the Chicago Bulls, was Jimmy Butler's replacement.
So what does all of this mean for Beal? Sometimes veterans get the nod out of respect (see Nowtizki in 2015) over a younger player who has had a better season. And just because a post player can't compete, it doesn't mean another post player will be selected instead (see Davis for Bryant, Cousisn for Bryant, Lillard for Griffin or Lopez for Rondo).
The Wizards (33-21) have one more game Thursday before the All-Star break and a decision should be made by, or before, then.