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Morning tip: John Wall should've been All-NBA 2nd team over Celtics' Isaiah Thomas

Morning tip: John Wall should've been All-NBA 2nd team over Celtics' Isaiah Thomas

Now that John Wall is finally All-NBA for the first time in his career, it's difficult to find any reason to complain about him being recognized among the top 15 players in the league. He made third team -- ahead of the likes of Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Goran Dragic  and Damian Lillard who have appeared before him-- but behind second-team selection Isaiah Thomas.

On the surface, it's splitting hairs. So what? At least Wall fulfilled one of his goals after a 49-win season and getting the Wizards to Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

But he'll surely find exta motivation because even though he has begun to earn more respect on a national scale, he won't feel it was enough after averaging career highs in points (23.1), assists (10.7), steals (2.0) and field-goal accuracy (45.1%). 

There'll always be these kind of hot takes from those who spoke ill of him from Day One and then continaully move the goalposts to justify their initial flawed judgments. When you actually put Wall in the same breath as Kendall Marshall, who was so bad that the No. 13 draft pick was jettisoned after one year by the Phoenix Suns which is unheard of, you should give yourself 20 lashes every time you utter his name:

So to compensate for this, every time Wall doesn't lead his team to the NBA championship -- like 29 other starting point guards in the NBA -- he'll be ridiculed. It's the Colin Cowherd heads I win/tails you lose logic. Trolling under the guise of analysis.

Wall jumps on the scorer's table after hitting the Game 6 winner over the Boston Celtics and he's foolish. Thomas screams, "You can't f--- with a killer" after winning a regular season game over the Wizards and throws hand signs, what does that make him?

Like Wall, it's player who is caught up on emotion of the moment. It means or proves nothing. Thomas was fined for threatening to beat up a fan at Verizon Center after a playoff loss. What will that have to do with anything in analyzing him as a player? It this were Wall, of course, such an incident would be mentioned every single time and used to question his upbringing and character. 

Thomas' team was marginally better than Washington. They were better defensively as a team to hide Thomas' shortcomings. Their role players were better than a Wizards bench that produced five total points in Game 7. Boston didn't win the series because Thomas outplayed Wall. Kelly Olynyk turned into 2011 Dirk Nowitzki. That wasn't Wall's cover, but blame him for it all anyway. Usually the team that has a bench that scores 48 points will win. 

What should be ridiculed until the end of time is thinking Marshall, who couldn't stay in front of a stop sign on defense and obviously lacked NBA athleticism, was T.J. McConnell's peer much less Wall's (Sorry Kendall, though I really don't like the Tar Heels this isn't personal. I didn't invoke your name. You're just collateral damage).

I wasn't sure when Wall was taken No. 1 overall in 2010 if he could be this good. But I also had no first-hand knowledge of his work ethic. At that time, it was all about "if" he works hard, "if" he's committed, "if" he's coachable. That's true about a lot  of draft picks who aren't even legal drinking age when they turn pro. There's no way to project if a million dollars will make them work harder or relax.

I voted Wall for the second team on my official ballot. Thomas was my third-team selection. Both worked incredibly hard to get there because they were raw when they entered the league.

All-NBA is a regular-season award. That Thomas' Celtics eliminated the Wizards isn't relevant. The voting was submitted by the panel of 100 during the final week of the regular season. 

[RELATED: All-NBA great for Wall, his future in D.C., but he wants more]

Thomas averaged 28.9 points (almost six more than Wall), 5.9 assists (about five fewer), 0.9 steals (one fewer), shot 46.3% overall (one percent better) and 37.9% from three-point range (five percent better).

Thomas is better in some areas, but not as good in others. It's no slam-dunk that Thomas should be elevated above Wall unless team wins (53 vs. 49)  is the trump card. If that's your standard for All-NBA, then Anthony Davis shouldn't be first-team with 34 wins and Giannis Antetokounmpo shoulnd't be second team with 42 wins. There are players at their positions who didn't make All-NBA with far more victories.

When it's the fourth quarter and crunch time, what happens on the defensive end? Does Thomas stay on the floor? No. Brad Stevens will sub him in and out. 

Why? Because opposing coaches target him and Boston knows he's a major liability.

When a game starts, does Thomas defend Wall, Irving, Lowry, Paul, Lillard or any of the other elite point guards or is he hidden on weaker offensive players while Avery Bradley gets the lion's share of that workload?

Wall's individual defense has been hit and miss to start the season because he was coming off double knee surgery. In the playoffs, he was beaten by falling asleep off the ball in key moments and the Wizards just weren't as sharp at switching.

But at 6-4, there are shots that won't reach the rim because of him. The defense he played on Irving in their win in Cleveland and in their OT loss at home to the Cavs could never be duplicated by Thomas. Neither can the chasedown blocks.

It's no fault of Thomas that he's undersized at 5-9. How can anyone root against the Little Engine That Could? If you're grading on a curve there's a case for him being first team, but that's not what All-NBA is. 

This isn't 2015 when Irving was voted ahead of Wall, who missed All-NBA and was more deserving then, just because he played with LeBron James and was on the better team.  

Paul had a down season because of injuries, but he's as close to flawless as a point guard can get because he does everything well and his assist-to-turnover ratio is so impressive that it's downright sickening.

But if you look for reasons to downgrade Wall at every turn, and opine with a smugness that those who see Wall as a star are wrong, just look at the results for people who actually watch the league. I think he was one rung too low and still doesn't get the benefit of the doubt while others like Thomas will, but Wall was listed on 87 of the 100 ballots.

In a year where there was an obsession over triple-doubles of James Harden and Russell Westbrook in the banter over who is the MVP, how many double-doubles did Wall have in comparision to Thomas? 

He had 50. That's while defending better players, not being able to hide or rest to save himself for the fourth quarter and creating for others, too. That's not D.C. media favortism. It's the truth which is allergic to the hot take kings of the sports world.

That's 45 more double-doubles than Thomas. That's 20 double-doubles more than the four point guards -- Thomas, Lowry, Irving and Kemba Walker -- who made the East All-Star team this year combined.  

No matter what team he's chosen for All-NBA, Wall is the best point guard in the East. He's must-see TV. He's a star. How big of a star is up for debate but he's on the rise.

Even Kendall Marshall can see that.

[RELATED: Insider J. Michael reveals his official All-NBA ballot]

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

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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

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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.