My Basketball Heads!!
How we doing out here?!?
I know me personally, I been feenin’ to shoot the rock for WEEKS now.
See, I’m used to gettin’ my run in at least twice a week – Sundays and Mondays or Sundays and Tuesdays. Ever since the “You know what” hit us, it just ain’t been safe to play right now, obviously. Some people don’t get that, and it forced local officials to take drastic measures, and now these mofos done blocked all rims around my way – can’t even go out and get some shots up SMH!
Don’t get me wrong. I practice and advocate social distancing. I just need a rim and a ball – nobody else with me. Not being able to play basketball has forced me to seek out other means to scratch that itch.
So, I’m watching games being replayed and old highlights. I’m getting my NBA2K MyPlayer skills up and will be ready to hit the online courts soon enough (If you got a PS4, hit me up at “uknowmysteezo” if you want that work). I mean I’m even reading articles on players and researching stats for the hell of it and I aint done that in years LOL!
That’s actually a perfect segue into how I found myself going down this rabbit hole (BTW Happy Easter everybody).
Aight..it’s obvious I have idle time on my hands, but so do you – so read this shit and let’s talk shop!
True or False: Bradley Beal is just the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points (25.6 ppg), 400 rebounds (5.0 rpg) and 400 assists (5.5 apg) in a season, and not make an All-NBA team (2018-19).
True or False: Bradley Beal is the only player since 1985 (yes, 35 years ago) to average more than 28 points per game and not make the All Star team (2019-20).
If you answered false, because just reading the aforementioned stats, you believe there is no way that could happen – then you were wrong. For all intents and purposes, it’s fair to say that Bradley Beal is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA.
Now, one could try to argue that the Wizards didn’t win enough in 2018-19, or that the players that did make the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd All-NBA team deserved it more, but if that is the case, how did Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker both make the 2nd and 3rd All-NBA teams, respectively?
Let’s take Kyrie vs Beal for starters – Yes, Kyrie is an assassin. He can score with the best of them and his handles are second-to-none. He’s also a proven clutch-performer. But did he really have a better season than Beal in 2018-19?
Let’s just talk stats: Beal’s numbers are 25.6 ppg 5.0 rpg 5.5 apg 1.5 stl 47.5 fg% – Kyrie’s numbers are 23.8 ppg 5.0 rpg 6.9 apg 1.5 stl 48.7 fg%
Pretty evenly matched, statistically. However, shouldn’t it matter that Kyrie only played 67 games last season, and Beal competed in all 82 regular season games? Or that Boston was loaded with talent (Tatum, Brown, Heyward, Hordford, etc…) around Kyrie, and that aside from Beal (John Wall only played 32 games due to injury), the best Washington had to offer was Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, and Thomas Bryant? Don’t get me wrong, Otto is my Guy (Hoya Saxa) and Ariza has been a steady competitor for years in the league (Laker Nation), but Otto only played half the season before being traded, and Ariza is older and slower than in his prime.
That being said, despite that “core” group of players, the Wizards still won 32 games (finishing three spots shy of the 8th seed), and Bradley Beal CARRIED that team…for 82 games, and was just as efficient (statistically) as Kyrie was with Boston, with much lesser support. Nonetheless, Kyrie made 2nd team All-NBA.
Now let’s go with Kemba Walker: 25.6 ppg 4.4 rpg 5.9 apg 1.2 spg 43.4 fg% 82 games played. Now first of all, statistically speaking, even to the novice eye it is obvious that Beal’s numbers are better. He averaged the same amount points per game, but was a more efficient scorer shooting 47.5 fg% to Kemba’s 43.4 fg%, had more rebounds, more steals, and all while averaging just one less apg than Kemba. In addition, what the stats do not show, is that Beal is by far a better defender than Kemba is, and will ever be. So, let’s be clear – Beal had the better individual statistics, and both teams missed the playoffs, but Kemba made 3rd-team All NBA. How Sway?
Fast forward to this current season (if we ever get back to it…).
Bradley Beal is 2nd in the NBA in scoring averaging 30.5 ppg and still shooting over 45% from the field. Again, the only player to ever not make the All Star team with these type of numbers was 35 years ago, it was Dominique Wilkins, and that was a travesty even back then! How the f___k do you select Kelly Tripucka over the Human Highlight Reel?
Anyway, I digress… the 2020 All-Star team was loaded with talent, but there is no way that Kyle Lowry should’ve been on either team. Kyle Lowry, statistically, had the least impressive numbers of all the All-Stars this season, and he isn’t even the best player on his OWN team! I mean, the disrespect Bradley Beal endures is just as unprecedented as him being snubbed with the kind of season he is having… man, I’m officially referring to my guy as RDB (Real Deal Beal).
And here’s why: this guy is a consummate professional, I mean a real class-act; he does very well when speaking to the media – knows what to say and when to say it. God-fearing. Charitable. And I don’t know why the league won’t acknowledge it?!
What he has received, is criticism.
Ever since he got to the league, it’s been one critique or another, and I’m not talking constructive. Nonetheless, like a true leader and fighter, RDB consistently overcomes adversity, obstacle after obstacle, time and time again.
First, it was he can’t create his own shots or he isn’t a ball-handler…
… and well, he has improved in that aspect dont you think?
Remember a few years ago it was the “injury bug” tag; that would he ever be healthy enough to reach his potential – RDB bounces back with 77 games and then consecutive 82 game seasons in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Then it was his alleged beef with John Wall and how he wanted to be the “Man” and Wall was in his way, when in actuality, it was more Wall than Beal if anything! As soon as Beal signed that contract, Wall started hatin’…publicly. Actually, Wall did it twice – did the same thing when Otto Porter signed his contract. But listen, I ain’t gonna paint Wall to be some malcontent guys cant get along with, I’m just saying…
Lastly, despite being snubbed for the All_Star game this year, just to show the haters what they been missing, from January 20 to March 6, RDB goes on a killing spree only akin to the likes of Jason Voorhies and puts on one of the best scoring stretches in Wizards history, with 21 consecutive games of at least 25 points!
This – in my humble opinion – was the best stretch of peak offense all season long… and yes, even better than any stretch by James Harden and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. My man lit the league up for 30+ points 16x, 40+ points 6x, and 50, twice!! But what’s crazy, is that he dropped 50 on back-to-back nights, which hasn’t been done since…you guessed it, the late great Kobe Bryant did in 2007.
And whats even crazier is that the league drug tested him after the second 50-Burger as if A) this didn’t happen and B) he wasn’t capable of such a feat.
Listen, man… I’m a native Washingtonian, and so i guess you can say I’m biased…but if you are a true fan of the game- a purist – then you know the “goods” when you see it.
This isn’t news to you.
Footnote: I know JR Smith is a lunchbox, but he could boogie with the best of them in his heyday – don’t let them forgettable years with LeBron in Cleveland fool you.
Shout out to Bradley Beal for him just being an all-around good dude, man. He may retire as the greatest Wizard ever – and that’s saying a lot – especially since he could be demanding to be traded like so many other “superstars” we see in this era of mobility amongst NBA players.