The first round of returns has come back for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. And no Washington Wizards players ranked in the Top 10.
This is strange, to say the least, because Bradley Beal was an All-Star starter last year. So why are NO players in the Top 10 for returns? Here are some anecdotal reasons why this may be the case:
- Beal is not as coveted as a trade target as he was last year — In the 2020-21 NBA season, the Wizards star was one of the most talked-about players as a potential trade target at the deadline. This was in part because he was the league’s leading scorer during the first half of the season. And also, the Wizards were out of the playoff picture in the first half of last season thanks to a poor start. This season, Beal’s numbers have declined some due to a slow start.
- There is no other All-Star caliber name on the Wizards besides Beal — Last year, Beal played alongside Russell Westbrook, who finished seventh in Eastern Conference voting. Perhaps some of Westbrook’s fans also voted for Beal and stopped voting for him once the triple-double king was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Beal did not announce that he was vaccinated against the coronavirus until late December — Fans, especially of other teams, may have liked Beal and voted for him to play in the All-Star Game last year. But if some of these fans took issue with his hesitancy earlier this fall, they may be less likely to vote for him now, even though he has since received the vaccine. Case in point? Kyrie Irving, who is sixth in this season’s returns despite playing just ONE road game for the Nets. Last season, Irving was second in final returns.
- There aren’t many Wizards fans voting compared to other teams’ fanbases — This may partially explain why Irving dropped to seventh from second last season in fan voting while Beal is not ranked despite being first in voting last year.
- Wizards fans take All-Star voting more seriously than other team fanbases — To some fans, if Beal isn’t leading in scoring on a team that isn’t leading the Eastern Conference … he doesn’t deserve to be in the All-Star Game.
Any other reasons why you think the Wizards are doing really poorly in All-Star returns so far? Let us know in the comments below.