Wizards

Can Bradley Beal make an All-NBA team without being named an All-Star?

Wizards

Bradley Beal was clearly frustrated when he missed out on making the All-Star team back in January and has since basically taken it out on the rest of the league, dropping 40- and 50-point games on the regular.

Beal has been so good that it is now only natural to wonder if he could factor into the All-NBA conversation this summer. With that in mind, here's a look at the biggest factors that go into the All-NBA dynamic as it pertains to Beal...

It has happened far more often than you might think

Though technically All-NBA, which is comprised of only 15 players, is a far more exclusive club than the All-Star team, which has 24-plus players depending on injury replacements, it is actually quite common for players to make All-NBA despite not being All-Stars. In fact, in the last 10 years alone, 11 players have had that occur. Rudy Gobert and DeAndre Jordan have each had it happen twice and Jordan even made first team All-NBA once.

Really, it's an odd quirk in the NBA awards system. In Jordan's case, he wasn't considered among the 24-best players in the league in February, then was chosen as one of the top-five players at season's end.

It also happened not all that long ago for a Wizards player. In 1997-98, point guard Rod Strickland was snubbed from the All-Star team, then went on to make second-team All-NBA.

 

For Beal, it is likely going to come down to how much voters account for team success. But he wouldn't be the first player on a losing team to make All-NBA. Tracy McGrady got in back in 2003-04 on an Orlando Magic team that won 19 games. He got it done by winning the scoring title.

Here are the lowest win percentages in NBA history for players who made All-NBA:

.174 12-57 1952-53 Johnston, Neil, Phi.
.214 12-44 1948-49 Sailors, Kenny, Pro.
.253 19-56 1959-60 Twyman, Jack, Cin.
.280 14-36 1998-99 McDyess, Antonio, Den.
.284 19-48 2003-04 McGrady, Tracy, Orl.

Beal has played his way into the conversation

Beal, to his credit, has really elevated his game after not being named an All-Star. Before Jan. 30, the day the full All-Star rosters were announced, Beal was averaging 28.6 points while shooting 45.3 percent overall and 31.8 percent from three. Since, Beal has been averaging 35.8 points while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from long range.

Beal is currently second in the NBA and first in the East in points per game. But that ranking alone won't offer any guarantees, as James Harden led the NBA in points scored in 2015-16 and still didn't make the cut for All-NBA.

Even with guys like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving out due to injury, there is going to be plenty of competition for Beal at guard. The short-list is probably going to include Harden, Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic and Kemba Walker with Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, Trae Young, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry and more gunning for the final two spots. Only six guards will be chosen.

Things will also depend on what players are listed at what position on the ballot. Khris Middleton of the Bucks, for instance, could be listed as a guard or forward.

Beal could make history (again) if he doesn't make All-NBA

Beal already this season had the highest scoring average ever at the break for a player not named an All-Star. He has a chance to do essentially the same with All-NBA.

Beal's season scoring average of 30.4 points per game is not far off from the record for a non-All-NBA player. That record belongs to former Bullet Walt Bellamy, who put up 31.6 points per game in 1961-62 and was left off the list. Beal has already broken some of Bellamy's records this season, but he won't be gunning for that one.

Here are the top-five scorers who didn't make All-NBA:

31.6   1961-62 Walt Bellamy, Chi.
31.1   1975-76 Bob McAdoo, Buf.
30.3   1981-82 Adrian Dantley, Utah
30.2   1979-80 World B. Free, S.D.
30.0   1974-75 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mil.

The voting process is different

Perhaps working in Beal's favor is the fact the system of choosing All-NBA is different than the one that selects All-Stars. In All-Star voting, Beal came up short both in fan voting and when NBA head coaches picked the reserves. Those two parties, however, are not involved in choosing All-NBA teams.

 

Those are instead picked by the media, who voted Beal as the fifth-best guard in the Eastern Conference during the All-Star selection process. That's not as high as his ranking among player votes (second), but it's a lot better than what the fans thought.

Making All-NBA would not qualify him for a supermax

One of the reasons why Beal's decision to sign a contract extension in October was surprising to a lot of people is that he gave up the opportunity to potentially get a supermax contract this sumer. If Beal had not signed the contract and made All-NBA, he would have been in line for a supermax, also know as a designated player extension. But by signing the deal, making All-NBA this year won't affect his earning power. 

The Elias Sports Bureau, NBA.com and Basketball-Reference were used as part of this research.

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