D’Angelo Russell vs. Bradley Beal
We’re at the point where it’s safe to say Bradley Beal is — regardless of John Wall’s health — the best player for the Washington Wizards.
Beal is having a career year for Washington, with career-highs in scoring, assists, rebounding, steals and blocks, while staying healthy and playing a career-high 37.6 minutes per game.
One could argue that Beal is the only reason the Wizards — whose playoff hopes are officially on life support after their loss Tuesday night to the Los Angeles Lakers combined with the Orlando Magic’s win over the Miami Heat — are as close to contention for the postseason as they are.
And with all of that, Washington’s tragic number is one — with their next loss or Orlando’s next victory, the Wizards will be officially knocked out.
A player doesn’t have to be on a playoff team to make an All-NBA list, but the last player to be voted in without a postseason berth was Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans at the undermanned center spot in 2016-17.
The last guard to earn an All-NBA nod from a team that missed the playoffs was Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2005-06.
So that doesn’t help Beal’s case at all.
Here are the head-to-head comparisons with D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets:
Beal has big advantages in scoring, but Russell leads in 3-point percentage and in the assist categories — no surprise since DLo is a point guard and Beal primarily plays off the ball.
If there is one candidate from a non-playoff team to break that long drought since Iverson’s All-NBA selection in 2005-06, it’s Beal. But the voters have shown for more than a decade now that they value winning when it comes to picking the best guards, in particular, in the NBA.