Wizards

Beal named an All-Star starter for the first time in his career

Wizards

Bradley Beal is finally getting his due. After being left off the All-Star roster altogether last season, Beal has been named an All-Star starter for the first time in his career.

Beal joins Kyrie Irving (Nets), Kevin Durant (Nets), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) and Joel Embiid (Sixers) among starters in the East. Starting in the West are Stephen Curry (Warriors), Luka Doncic (Mavs), LeBron James (Lakers), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) and Kawhi Leonard (Clippers). 

Beal was chosen to start based on votes cast by fans, fellow players and the media. Fans make up the largest portion, accounting for half of the equation. Beal finished first in fan voting among East guards, showing major improvement from last year when he was ninth.

Beal, 27, leads the NBA in scoring this season at 32.8 points per game. He's also averaging 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 steals. 

Beal is not only putting up volume numbers, he's doing so with efficiency. His 52.5 effective field goal percentage is higher than his career average (52.0). And he's averaging career-highs at the free throw line both in attempts (8.4/g) and percentage (89.6).

Related: LeBron James, Kevin Durant headline 2021 NBA All-Star starters

Beal's individual numbers were enough to overcome the Wizards' overall play so far this season. Though they have won three straight games, they are 9-17 and 13th out of 15 teams in the East.

Beal was an All-Star in both 2018 and 2019 as a reserve. He is just the sixth player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to be a starter in the game. The last was John Wall in 2015.

Other Wizards/Bullets players to start the All-Star Game in addition to Wall include Gilbert Arenas, Michael Jordan, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes. Beal received the most fan votes of any player in franchise history.

 

With three All-Star appearances, Beal ties Arenas, Phil Chenier and Don Ohl for the sixth-most All-Star games in Wizards/Bullets franchise history. Elvin Hayes has the record with eight.

Now Beal is set to represent the Wizards in Atlanta on March 7. The NBA is holding its All-Star Game in a bubble with an adjusted format which will include a dunk contest and three-point contest on the same night as the game.

The All-Star Game will look a little different this year, but the Wizards will have at least one player at the event. The question now becomes whether Russell Westbrook will join him as a reserve, which are voted on by NBA head coaches. The full rosters will be announced on Feb. 23.