Will Bradley Beal or Russell Westbrook make All-NBA? Votes say it is close

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Will Beal or Westbrook make All-NBA? Votes say it is close originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

As the NBA Playoffs continue in the second round, it is also NBA award season. With an adjusted calendar and no awards show, the league is releasing its annual awards on TNT throughout the playoffs.

Though some may miss the awards show (okay, maybe no one), this year's format has led to some really fun award presentations by teammates.

We know the MVP (Nikola Jokic) and defensive player of the year (Rudy Gobert), which means the rest are right around the corner. All-NBA teams should be announced soon and that's one which could affect the Wizards with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook both in the mix.

Beal has never made All-NBA before, but is a three-time All-Star and just led the East in scoring for the second straight season. Westbrook has been All-NBA nine times in his career, including last year as third-team, and averaged a triple-double this season for the fourth time. Together, they helped lead the Wizards to the playoffs for the first time in three years.

Still, it won't be easy for either to make All-NBA, which only includes 15 players. The league is deep with stars these days and especially at the guard position. 

The ballots which have been made public by writers and reporters around the country show both Beal and Westbrook have a chance, but that it will be very close. They're essentially competing in a group that includes Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Devin Booker and Donovan Mitchell, plus some guys like Jimmy Butler and Paul George who count as guards or forwards. Only six will be chosen.

The first indication Beal and Westbrook are on the bubble is from Hoops Hype, which put together official ballots from 18 voters. Beal and Westbrook each missed the cut, but as the two guys with the most votes who were left off. Beal and Westbrook, in fact, were tied with 10.6% of the vote, falling short of Irving who got the last guard spot with 12.9%. That not only indicates they are right on the line, but that they have an equal chance of getting in.

Looking around at individual ballots shows more promise for Beal in particular. Here are how six voters cast their ballots. Since the Hoops Hype poll was anonymous, it's possible some of these were included there as well.

Here's how they break down:

Chris Haynes, Yahoo!

  • Russell Westbrook - 3rd team

  • Bradley Beal - 3rd team

Chris Fedor, Cleveland.com

  • Russell Westbrook - 3rd team

  • Bradley Beal - no

Kevin O'Connor, The Ringer

  • Russell Westbrook - no

  • Bradley Beal - 3rd team

Dan Devine, The Ringer

  • Russell Westbrook - no

  • Bradley Beal - no

Zach Lowe, ESPN

  • Russell Westbrook - no

  • Bradley Beal - 3rd team

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports

  • Russell Westbrook - no

  • Bradley Beal - no

So, as you see there, out of six ballots there were three votes for Beal and two for Westbrook. Haynes of Yahoo! voted for both Wizards guards.

Now, it's worth noting that All-NBA does not have the same implications it did in the past for Beal. In recent years, the announcement carried major importance for his contract, as players who make All-NBA are eligible for the supermax.

But whether Beal makes it or not, he will still be in line for a massive payday if he opts out of his contract for the 2022-23 season. He will have 10 years of NBA experience, making him eligible for a five-year deal worth a projected $266 million, which according to ESPN would be the largest in NBA history.

If either Beal or Westbrook make All-NBA, they will be the first Wizards to earn the honor since John Wall in 2017. Wall and Gilbert Arenas are the only Wizards players to be All-NBA this century. Arenas made it three times.

Soon, Beal or Westbrook could join that list, but it's going to be a photo finish.