If Bradley Beal is going to make his third straight NBA All-Star Game, he’ll have to wait one more week to see if he makes it as a reserve.
As expected, there was no sign of the Washington Wizards’ star when the league announced the 10 All-Star starters Thursday night, as Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks were chosen as the two Eastern Conference guards.
For the second straight year, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James were named captains and will get to pick their teams, draft-style, in two weeks’ time.
James was the leading vote-getter for the seventh time. Joining him out of the Western Conference as starters are Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, Mavericks sophomore sensation Luka Doncic and Rockets guard James Harden.
Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and Sixers center Joel Embiid joined Antetokounmpo, Walker and Young as the starters selected from the East.
The starters were chosen by a combination of votes by fans (50%), players (25%) and media (25%).
The NBA released the final “rankings” by category, revealing that Beal picked up the second-most player votes among Eastern guards — earning more votes than Young. But he finished ninth in the fan vote and fifth in the media vote.
Those totals won’t matter in terms of deciding whether Beal makes the game, as coaches choose the reserves, seven from each conference. The NBA will announce the reserves next Thursday.
There was some debate over whether Young deserved to be an All-Star due to his deficiency on defense and the fact that he plays for the second-worst team in the league, the 11-34 Atlanta Hawks. Still, he earned enough votes to lock in a starter spot, so other Eastern Conference guards like Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry and Zach LaVine are up for the reserve spots along with Beal.
The All-Star Game will be played in Chicago on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
With John Wall still sidelined as he rehabs a ruptured Achilles tendon, Beal has been the Wizards’ primary star and leader since the middle of last season. Entering Thursday, he was sixth in the NBA in scoring with 27.5 points per game, to go with 6.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.
He was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019, a reserve both times. In last year’s All-Star draft, Beal was the final man to be picked and still went on to score 11 points for Team LeBron.