His sixth game of 40 minutes or more in the books, John Wall finally has the Wizards where they hadn't been since Nov. 24, 2015. Keeping them with a winning record, with the second game of a back-to-back at the Boston Celtics tonight, is key to his hopes of being a four-time All-Star and first-time All-NBA performer.
"I've been an All-Star before. I've been a starter. I've never been on an All-NBA team," said Wall, who hit the game-winning shot and registered his 23rd double-double vs. the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. "I'll be very disappointed if I don't make it this year, to be honest with you. On both."
Based on the first round of All-Star fan voting, which counts for 50% of the equation to determine starters for the Feb. 19 game in New Orleans, Wall likely won't be a starter as in 2015 when the Wizards opened that season 22-8 and played on Christmas Day when he dominated the N.Y. Knicks. They started 2-8 this year but are 19-18 after erasing an 18-point deficit to beat Chicago as Wall had a game-high 26 points, 14 assists and five rebounds. It was his 10th game of 12 more more assists.
No other conference player is in Wall's zip code when it comes to the points-assist double-double. He was just seventh in the fan voting among East guards at 87,000 -- 41,000-plus behind sixth-place Kyle Lowry and fifth-place Derrick Rose. The top two, as it stands Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade, will start but media and players also will vote to comprise the other 50%. Coaches will determine the reserves. The next round of fan voting comes out Thursday.
The lack of national attention and respect has long bothered Wall, who was irked at end-of-regular-season media voting that put Irving on the All-NBA team ahead of him for the 2014-15 season.
The Wizards were just 41-41 last year and missed the playoffs. Wall required surgeries to both knees May 5 but still averaged 19.9 points and 10 assists per game. Despite having to use part of this regular season to play his way back into shape, Wall is putting up career-highs of 23.4 points, 10.4 assists and 2.2 steals to go with 4.5 rebounds. He was named Player of the Month in December when he posted 10 double-doubles and set a career-high with 52 points.
"I don't know how you can start an All-Star Game and don't make an All-NBA team," Wall said of what he perceived as a slight in 2015. "I was close to averaging 20 and 10 (last year). Both of those recognitions mean a lot to me but All-NBA team is very important. I know there's a lot of great guards in this league and they're all playing well.
"I know you don't get noticed if your team is not winning. We're a team that's back in the playoff picture. I think that should help me get over the hump from where we started early in the season. I don't know too many guys that won Player of the Month and wasn't an All-Star or made the All-NBA team. ... Got to see what happens."