WASHINGTON — Perhaps it isn’t all that surprising, considering the NBA is a profit-driven league and few players bring profit like New York Knicks stars, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver has selected Carmelo Anthony to replace the injured Kevin Love in the All-Star Game.
There was a lingering hope around the District that Silver would instead choose Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who is enjoying a breakout season and has been one of the Eastern Conference’s most dominant wings, and there was a more wishful hope that he would opt for Otto Porter, the Wizards forward who leads the league in 3-point shooting.
Instead, Silver went with the safe pick of Anthony, who gets his 10th All-Star nod, despite Beal having, by most standards, a notably better season than the Knicks forward.
Beal has the edge on Anthony in most measurable categories, and aside from rebounding, Anthony’s only statistical advantages are slight — for example, he has a 23.4-22.3 advantage in points per game, and a 0.5-0.2 advantage in blocks per game. Meanwhile, Beal shoots nearly 3 percent better from the field and 2 percent better from 3-point range, and he averages nearly a full assist more per game.
Most telling, however, is what the advanced statistics show. When Beal is on the court, the Wizards outscore opponents by 8.3 points per 100 possessions. When Anthony is on the court, the Knicks are outscored by 5.1 points per possession. That’s a 13.4 points per 100 possession difference, an enormous margin by any standard.
Suffice to say, Wizards fans (and others) took umbrage with the decision.
One of the arguments that’s made the rounds since Silver’s decision is the need for a frontcourt player, in which case Porter seems like a more apt choice. After all, Porter is one of the best-shooting forwards in basketball, and he’s got Anthony beat in nearly every statistical category.
Porter was also robbed of a chance to participate in the 3-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend, even though he, as noted, leads the league in 3-point shooting percentage.
However, it appears Anthony will always get the nod due to his long-established stardom and the fact that he plays in one of the league’s biggest markets. Beal and Porter are rising stars, but neither have anywhere close to the track record Anthony does, and the Washington audience pales in comparison to the New York audience.
But it would certainly be nice to see the Wizards players get some national attention.