This marks what will probably be a lot of firsts for Wizards point guard John Wall, who was just notified Thursday as he returned from a West coast road trip that he is an All-Star, CSN Washington has confirmed.
Of course, this was expected and will be announced later tonight. It only would've been a shock if Wall was not selected by NBA coaches as a reserve, a week after he was beaten out by Kyrie Irving in the popular vote among fans for the Feb. 16 All-Star Game at New Orleans. He became the Wizards' first All-Star since Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison in 2008 when they also last had a winning record this late in a season. The Wizards (22-23) play vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder at Verizon Center on Friday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
Wall is averaging career highs of 19.8 points, 8.5 assists and 32.5% shooting from three-point range. He's also on pace to play the most games of his career, which had been 69 as a rookie when he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010.
He attributes his strong start to his offseason work and conditioning, but except for an issue with lower back spasms to start the season he has been at optimum health. Wall is top five in the NBA in passes per game, total assists, "secondary" or hockey assists and points created by assists per game
Signing a five-year, $80 million maximum extension last summer -- though met with a lot of criticism for a player who has never had a winning record in Washington or won more than 29 games in any season -- fueled Wall, who has been the best point guard in the East with injuries to Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets) struggling with ankle injuries.
Rose and Williams, coincidentally, were chosen to compete in the 28-player pool by USA Basketball for a spot on the 2014 World Championship and 2016 Olympic teams. Wall was not. He vows that has given him added motivation to be even better.