Washington Wizards

Quick Links

Double-doubles keep rolling in for John Wall in All-Star level performance

Double-doubles keep rolling in for John Wall in All-Star level performance

The fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game hasn't been favorable to John Wall, but the Wizards' point guard -- already a three-time All-Star -- put another notch in the best season of his career with 18 assists to go with 18 points in a fourth-quarter comeback win.

It came a day after he learned that he only received 87,360 popular votes among Eastern Conference guards for the Feb. 19 showcase in New Orleans while lesser perfomers such as Dwyane Wade (278,052) and Derrick Rose (129,924) outdistanced him though they're on teams with comparable records to Washington (17-18)

"Eight-seven thousand votes?" Wall said sarcastically, though with a smile, to CSNmidatlantic.com after he had 18 points and 18 assists in a 112-105 victory. "I'll take it."

Wall has 22 double-doubles, 13 more than the next nearest pure guard in the conference which is Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics (nine) who plays at the two. Nicolas Batum, a shooting guard/small forward for the Charlotte Hornets, has 10.

Among point guards ahead of Wall in the voting, the leader Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers has six double-doubles, the Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry also has six, Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics just four and Rose only one with the N.Y. Knicks.

The only players above Wall in double-doubles in the East are centers Andre Drummond (24), Hassan Whiteside (24) and Dwight Howard (23). 

Wall's are much tougher to tally because of his role. His double-doubles create a ripple effect because as the primary ballhandler he's why the Wizards had five other players score in double figures Friday. Five of the seven field goals made by Otto Porter (17 points) came from Wall's assists. Four of Marcin Gortat's nine makes were product of his passes. In all, the Wizards had 31 assists on 46 baskets and the wealth was distributed almost equally. It's a staple of their offense when they play well. 

"John is always facilitating like that so it is a lot easier playing with him," said Markieff Morris, who had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting. "You just have to make some shots. It is as simple as that."

Wall only had four points at halftime, but he didn't hunt for shots the way Zach LaVine did repeatedly in shooting 3-for-14 for Minnesota. Instead, Wall took his time, picked apart the traps on the ball by Gorgui Dieng and Karl-Anthony Towns and made the simple pocket passes that helped produce 9-for-9 shooting by Gortat. 

Carefully, he injected pace into the game.

"Every time I came areound there was like two guys there," Wall said of the Wolves' defensive strategy on the pick-and-roll coverage. 

They were determined to keep Wall away from the rim, so he set the table for his teammates to inflict their damage first.

"They packed the paint in on the pick-and-rolls," said Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 22 points on just 12 shots, including 5 of 7 on three-pointers. "So John was able to find everybody."

Wall knocked down a long jumper for a 99-97 lead with 3:40 left and sliced into the lane on consecutive plays for layups and a 105-101 lead exactly two minutes later.

Beal, Wall's backcourt mate who isn't in the top 10 for All-Star fan voting for guards but has a viable case for inclusion as well, delivered the knockout blow on Minnesota with 69 seconds left. It was Beal only field goal in the fourth.

Wall made the assist on that shot for a 108-103 lead and Gortat finished a lob to end all hope -- also from Wall. The Wizards shot 58.2% overall, 46 of 79, just short of a season-high 58.3% set earlier in the season. They made 12 of 22 threes for 54.5%.

"Too easy. All you've got to do is run the floor and you're going to get open shots. Cut hard, run your plays hard and he'll find you," Beal said of Wall's orchestration of the offense. "It's just a matter of playing hard and playing with energy and the rest will take care of itself. We can get what we want on offense. We have a lot of offensive threats and guys who can make plays. We just put it all on the defense and just feed off of that."
The "M-V-P" chants returned as Wall stood at the foul line for the first time with 8.3 seconds left. He made them both though that wasn't indicative of his court presence. The Wizards have won nine in a row at Verizon Center.

"There is a lot of excitement and it's great to know that when they call our names they are cheering for us," Wall said. "It's something we can use as an advantage."

But will anyone outside of D.C. hear? For Wall to be an All-Star again, it'll likely have to come from coaches who vote for the reserves. They know all about Wall and his impact first-hand because they game plan to stop him and more often than not this season they've not succeeded.

And defensively, Wall is a much better player than the one who began the season slow after surgeries to both knees May 5. 

"When we were down in that fourth quarter, that's when he had to take over becaiuse Brad was out of the game," said Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who went with Wall and Gortat after a 14-point third quarter lead devolved into an 85-80 deficit entering the fourth. "He had to be more aggressive because we needed his scoring. ... We got stops. It gave us the opportunity to get out in transtion where he's at his best."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Timberwolves]

Quick Links

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

usatsi_9754583.jpg
USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Daniel Ochefu's season...

Player: Daniel Ochefu

Position: Center

Age: 23

2016-17 stats: 19 G, 3.9 mpg, 1.3 ppg, 0.2 apg, 1.2 rpg, 0.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 44.4 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 00.0 FT%, 44.4 eFG%, 91 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Ochefu was no different than the other Wizards' rookies in that he didn't get much playing time at all in 2016-17. Even with Ian Mahinmi missing 51 games, Ochefu rarely saw the floor. Head coach Scott Brooks instead opted for Jason Smith to play extensive minutes in Mahinmi's absence and relied on Marcin Gortat to carry the load.

Injuries or not, that was to be expected for Ochefu, who signed with the Wizards as an undrafted free agent out of Villanova. After holding no picks in the 2016 draft, the Wizards saw enough promise in Ochefu to sign him and stash him on the back of their roster as a prospect.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

The Wizards see potential in Ochefu especially on the defensive end. He was never a big scorer in college, but was essential to Villanova's national championship team as a rebounder and rim protector.

Ochefu will probably have a hard time seeing the floor again this season with the same frontcourt returning. If Mahinmi plays more this year, that even further soldifies Ochefu's role as a third or fourth string guy. And like Sheldon Mac, Ochefu's contract isn't fully guaranteed unless he's still on the roster in January.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, post moves, consistency.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

Will Tomas Satoransky's role expand in his second year?

Will Sheldon Mac be given a bigger opportunity?

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES

Quick Links

Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

On Friday evening, John Wall was inducted to the Kentucky Hall-of-Fame, but it was not the memories of Wall's historic time at the University of Kentucky that was the theme of the night.

Rather it was Wall's speech and when he gave a tear-jerking section of it talking about his mom. 

“And last but not least – can you stand up – can ya’ll give recognition to my mom, Frances Pully.”

**pauses for applause**

“I hope she don’t cry and I told her I wouldn’t cry but it might get a little difficult tonight. Ummm, I just want to thank yo-“ pasues to hold back tears. “I want to say thank you for being my mom.

"I know it’s tough growing up with me and my two sisters, seeing my dad go to jail at a young age. You sacrificing everything. I’ve seen you pick me up to school, take me to school, and only pick me up from school. I always wondered what it feel like to be able to do things for my mom, I never had the chance. You know uh, you always told me, when I was sixteen you said, you know Iwas a hard-headed kid, I know you used to hate when I was in kindergarten. You had to sit in the parking a lot of the time because I could never stay in school for more than in 30 minutes, I was always getting kicked out. And she had to drive 45 minutes to take me to school.”

“Then all of a sudden, I started playing AAU basketball. I meet one of my close friends D.J., we call him Grizzly, and she would miss a lot tournaments but she would sacrifice sometimes not paying the light bill just so I could to go play basketball. Then when I was sixteen-years-old, I kept getting in trouble, she took basketball away from me.  She said, ‘you could go down the same road as your daddy, your brothers or you could be somebody special and change our families lives.’ And that is when I want to thank Coach Cal. My senior year I got a breaking and entering charge, just doing some dumb stuff to a kid that had an opportunity to go college. And one of the first people that came down there in 24 hours was Coach Cal. And he said, ‘listen you’re coming to school, I’m getting you away from here.’ And a lot of coaches would have ran from that they wouldn’t have believed on me, they would have gave up on me. And see what I did, see what I accomplished, and the person I have became, I couldn’t thank nobody else.”

“I want to thank you mom for being who you are, being a strong, powerful woman, having that gritty attitude that some people look at me and see in my face and they say ‘Well John Wall is not approachable.’ Well I get it from my mom. And I’m cool with that because when you really get to know me I’m really a loyal person, I’m a family person. And I just want to thank you for being my mom. I wouldn’t ask for nobody else in this world to be my mom. I hope whoever I marry, whoever the mom to my kid, they can be just as strong as you is [sic] and just as powerful."

To see this section of his speech, click the video at the top of the page.

RELATED VIDEO: JOHN WALL'S FULL KENTUCKY HOF SPEECH

Once Wall's moment was over, he broke out his legendary Kentucky jersey, a little tighter than from eight years ago.

"It feels good to put this back on one more time too."

Before he left the stage and the night was done, he entertained with his famous, arm-flexing John Wall dance.