Every decision isn't a snub nor is every missed call a robbery. Carmelo Anthony was selected to his 10th All-Star Game -- ahead of Bradley Beal -- for reasons that have nothing to do with merit.
In fact, the All-Star Game itself isn't all about merit. It's a popularity contest with fans who vote and it also factors into the decisons rendered by the commissioner on who to send to New Orleans this weekend. Beal finished 14th in fan voting among guards, eighth in the media vote and eighth in the players' vote. He was behind Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Avery Bradley, the latter of whom hasn't played since Jan. 7.
It's a fans' showcase. Beal and Al Horford of the Boston Celtics were more deserving to replace the injured Kevin Love. They play on two of the top three teams in the East that were awarded just one All-Star in John Wall and Isaiah Thomas as reserves.
The league's coaches made the decision with their vote to select four point guards behind starter Kyrie Irving. Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker also made the cut.
There were too many guards, and based on where the Charlotte Hornets are in the standings now -- 12th place and eight games under .500 -- Walker would've been my choice as the odd man out.
Beal has had an exceptional season at 22.3 points, 3.7 assists and 47.2% shooting, all career highs, going into tonight's finale before the All-Star break at the Indiana Pacers. He's also shooting 40% from three-point range and likely to surpass his career-high of 41%.
But when Anthony Davis couldn't play in 2015, Dirk Nowitzki was chosen to replace him. That wasn't a merit-based selection. That was out of respect for his 13th and likely final appearance, though his team was significantly better than Anthony's.
All-Star weekend is about so much more than a game, or the skills competition and three-point contest. Players have more obligations off the court than can be quantified. They do them for the NBA and their own sponsored events.
It's a lot of autograph signings and meeting and greeting. Even players who are injured but able to travel are required by the league to attend if they were selected to participate.
Those fans won't care about the record of the Knicks this season, or the dysfunction surrounding their president Phil Jackson and owner James Dolan. Anthony has been a good soldier in staying above that fray and commissioner Adam Silver probably factored that in rewarding him, too. A flagship franchise of the NBA needed it more.
Beal wanted to be in New Orleans for Sunday's game, though he did turn down a three-point contest invite. He'll downplay it, but he was willing to scrap his current plans to pack a bag to join his backcourt mate on the big stage.
Though Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will have a say before this season is over, Wall and Beal are the best backcourt in the East. They are getting the respect that they feel that they deserve but it doesn't always come at the speed that you want it.
Beal has been a better player than Anthony, a far more efficient scorer than Anthony, a much better passer and defender than Anthony and is more deserving than Anthony to be an All-Star in every way possible if this was all about merit and accomplishment this season.
The fans, players and media had a chance to show Beal more respect early in the All-Star voting process and failed miserably as he was comfortably outdistanced by some far inferior guards.
Maybe if he was given more credit there, he'd have been higher on the comissioner's radar. Injury-replacement picks are at his discretion and fairness has nothing to do with it. And it was more than a two-man race for Love's vacated spot.
Beal isn't a frontcourt player and he doesn't play in New York. And not enough league-wide fans, media or fellow players cared enough to recognize him until now and it's too late. Those are the reasons he's not an All-Star.