John Wall started his first All-Star game last season, but he slipped significantly this year’s first voting leaderboard. The top 10 Eastern Conference guards:
- 1. Dwyane Wade (MIA) 300,595
- 2. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 138,191
- 3. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 128,131
- 4. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 111,220
- 5. John Wall (WAS) 103,094
- 6. Derrick Rose (CHI) 72,709
- 7. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 69,042
- 8. Jeremy Lin (CHA) 61,832
- 9. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 45,014
- 10. Nicolas Batum (CHA) 20,596
Wall, via J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
“It’s a joke” Wall, who didn’t make one mention of his strained right ligament in his knee, bruise on the same knee, high right ankle sprain and bone spur, told CSNmidatlantic.com after his 15th double-double. “I played like horseshit the first month and a half but I still was averaging like 16 and eight. That’s not bad numbers.”
“I guess it’s the record. No offense Kyrie, he’s played (three) games,” Wall said. “If he was healthy he probably would be in that position because he’d be playing well. I can see him there because that’s how talented he is.”
My criteria for choosing All-Stars differs from most. I’d pick whichever players would be most likely to help a team win that day. So, the fact that Irving has played just three games wouldn’t harm his candidacy in my book. (Judging which players have had the best seasons — which very much includes availability — should be for All-NBA teams.)
That said, I can see why Wall is upset. He has played every game, sometimes through injury, this season. Meanwhile, Irving (not by his own accord) has taken his time returning. Wall, reasonably, wants to be rewarded his that.
For now, I’d choose him over Irving, who’s still getting his legs under him. But that could easily change by the All-Star game, as Irving should only continue to improve.
Passing Wall doesn’t mean I’d vote Irving to start, though. It’s difficult to find a reasonable set of criteria where I wouldn’t pick Lowry and Butler right now. They’ve been awesome this season, and I think it’s sustainable. Irving has the talent to top one of those two, but he has major work cut out for himself.
Likewise, Wall faces a tough road just to make the game as a reserve. He remains a very good player, but he’s turning the ball over too much and defending worse than last season. Not that I’d pin the Wizards’ 14-14 record on him, but that’ll make it harder for him to beat players like Wade (if he somehow loses his hold on the starting spot), DeRozan, Thomas and Reggie Jackson. Even using my criteria – which doesn’t directly reward team record at all – at least a couple of those players rank ahead of Wall.
The exact order might be a little off, but Wall ranking fifth among Eastern Conference guards in All-Star voting seems closer to right than a “joke.”
If you’re a Comcast subscriber in Washington, you can stream tonight’s Wizards-Clippers game here.