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Should Bradley Beal have been an All-Star over Carmelo Anthony?

Should Bradley Beal have been an All-Star over Carmelo Anthony?

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.

[RELATED: NBA All-Star Game 2017: Russell Westbrook, John Wall headline list of 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. 

[RELATED: NBA All-Star 2017: Dunk contest, 3-point, skills challenge fields announced]

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.

[RELATED: Former Wizards player slams NBA for choosing Melo over Beal for ASG]

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WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

WATCH: Rui Hachimura punishing Spurs interior defense with dunk and two layups

As Rui Hachimura continues to grow and take his lumps at the NBA level, one important point of development for the Wizards' rookie will be finishing through contact at the rim. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

On Wednesday night against the Spurs, Hachimura hit a nice hook shot over LaMarcus Aldridge and then finished through traffic after attacking a closeout a few plays later. He entered the game shooting nearly 70 percent at the rim, a major reason why he's one of the top-scoring rookies this season. 

Then at the end of the first half, Isaiah Thomas found Hachimura on a back-door cut for the easy slam. Well-timed cuts are a great source of points for young players. 

After the break, the ninth-overall pick flashed a little finesse at the rim for another pretty finish. 

His three-point shooting will have to improve at some point down the line and learning better positioning as a defender is something every rookie has to go through. 

Both of those skills can be improved in the practice gym or in the film room. Finishing at the basket through contact is learned by repetition in-game, so it's a promising sign to see Hachimura take the ball to the rim. 


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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

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When Gregg Popovich thinks the NBA will be ready for a female head coach

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hosting the Spurs on Wednesday night brought together two of the 11 NBA teams that currently employ a female assistant coach. The Wizards have Kristi Toliver on their bench and the Spurs have Becky Hammon.

That confluence prompted a question to San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich on the future of women in the NBA coaching ranks and whether a head coaching hire could happen sometime soon. 

The Wizards play the Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Washington.

Though it has been five years since he hired Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history, Popovich is uncertain on exactly when a team will make the leap to hiring a woman to run their operation.

"That depends on people and organizations," he said. 

"It's a process and it doesn't happen quickly. But I think the more women there are [in the game] and as it becomes more commonplace and more the rule, it will then depend on an organization realizing there are women that can do this. Every woman can't, every man can't. But the point is there gotta be enough to choose from and it's gotta be pretty commonplace before I think somebody's gonna pull the trigger."

Popovich believes it will happen, he's just not sure when. The Wizards hiring Toliver last summer was another step in that direction and he believes she and others are showing the basketball world what they are capable of.

"There's no difference between a woman who knows the game and a man who knows the game. It's just another prejudice that probably has to be overcome just like a lot of other prejudices in the world have become less and less as people paid attention to them," Popovich said.

Hammon made the news over the weekend when Popovich was ejected from the Spurs' loss to the Kings and a committee of assistants coached the rest of the game. Popovich was asked why he didn't appoint Hammon to serve in the role for the rest of the game and he told reporters he was "not here to make history." 

Still, though there has never been a female head coach in any of the four major U.S. sports, it seems like the NBA is by far the closest with people like Hammon and Tolliver already knocking on the door.