John Wall’s shot is off this preseason

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The numbers simply are not good. At all.

John Wall is shooting 35.3 percent this preseason (29-of-82) overall and 11.7 percent (2-of-17) from three. Against Cleveland Wednesday he was 1-of-7, the night before 5-of-11 against the Pistons, and in those games combined he was 3-of-13 outside the paint. (It’s preseason, some advanced stats and shot location data I’d love to add here is not available.)

That would be John Wall, he of the new $80 million max contract (sorry John, but if you struggle this season that number is going to come up a lot). That would be John Wall, the guy the entire Wizards offense and playoff hopes are built around.

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Wall’s shot has regressed this preseason. It’s preseason and he’s experimenting with stuff, but those numbers still send up a red flag.

Wall told J. Michael of CSNWashington.com he’s getting the looks he wants.

“I feel like there are great shots. They’re just not going in right now. I’ve still got the same confidence,” Wall said when I asked him about his accuracy problems after he went 6-for-15 vs. the New York Knicks a week ago. “The same thing I worked on. Just keep shooting. It’s preseason. There are other things to work on. Get your kinks out.”

It’s preseason, we can’t say that enough. Do not reach for the panic button, Washington. The lineups he plays with will settle down and he will get looks he wants. Maybe his shooting percentage when the games matter will climb back up.

But it’s not going to be easy — the Wizards first eight games include on the road at Detroit, at Miami, Brooklyn, at Oklahoma City, at Dallas, at San Antonio. There are some good defensive teams on that list that can make life difficult for a point guard. Especially one struggling with his shot.

It may not be fair that a slow start, or for that matter the entirety of the Wizards season, will be placed on Wall’s shoulders, but that’s what comes with a max contract. It’s his team now. If his shots don’t fall when the games matter that spotlight is going to get brighter.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.