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New NBA All-Star Game format means endless possibilities, but shouldn't affect Wizards' Wall or Beal


New NBA All-Star Game format means endless possibilities, but shouldn't affect Wizards' Wall or Beal

Adam Silver has proven to be an innovate NBA Commissioner and Tuesday saw one of his most progressive ideas become official.

The NBA's All-Star Game will have a revamped format beginning 2018 in Los Angeles, doing away with the traditional East vs. West matchup and instead going with a system where team captains will pick their teams regardless of conference.

The game will also be played for charity with each team representing an organization.

The NFL's Pro Bowl has used teams that didn't stick to conferences in recent years with former players like Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin picking their teams. Some would call it 'playground style,' The NBA's format will instead have current stars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry doing the honors.

So what does it all mean for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game?


The captains could make things very interesting

The captains for both teams will be the players who received the most fan votes in each conference.

With all the craziness that went down this past offseason, the fans could use their power to create some intrigue. If LeBron is a captain, will he pick Kyrie Irving after all that went down in Cleveland?

If Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant are captains in the West, will they pick each other? Will Westbrook overlook all of the Warriors' All-Stars on principle?

Surely, fans and media will read into the picks that are made. If a guy is the captain and doesn't pick his own teammate, questions will be asked and rumors may start. Whomever LeBron picks, if he's captain, will start speculation about his free agent future. If he takes John Wall and Bradley Beal, #LeBron2DC will be trending on Twitter before you know it.

The NBA already has a lot of off-the-court drama that makes it the best soap opera in sports. This format will only add to those storylines.


The format shouldn't change much for the Wizards

The selection process for All-Stars will stay the same, so there is no need to wonder if this will help or hurt guys like Wall and Beal. All-Star starters will still be chosen with a combination of fan voting (50 percent) plus input from current players (25 percent) and the media (25 percent). Head coaches will then select the 14 reserves.

There will still be 12 players from each conference earning spots and that is a good thing for Wall and Beal. The Western Conference is stacked heavily with superstars, especially at the guard position. The fact stars like Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler went west this offseason still helps Beal's chances of making his first All-Star selection.

Will fans be more interested?

Every league in pro sports has trouble getting people interested in their showcase games. The Pro Bowl is often panned and gets bad ratings compared to actual NFL games, but its not alone. The NBA All-Star Game doesn't do the ratings it used to, either. Interestingly enough, the ratings for the 2017 All-Star Game were their highest since 2013. Still, the 7.75 million people who watched were about half of the audience the NBA's All-Star Game regular received in the 1990s.

Silver wanted to make a change and this is what the league came up with. Depending on the teams, it could make things more interesting. Aside from the Olympics, there are a lot of superstar pairings fans never get to see. LeBron and Curry on the same team would be fun, so would Wall sharing the backcourt with Klay Thompson and James Harden. Want to see what Wall would look like playing with Kevin Durant? This could be your chance. 

What we're rooting for

Beyond the obvious storylines perpetuating the off-court drama that makes the NBA so interesting, here's something that would be fun: a team full of unicorns, the type of athletes the NBA is becoming increasingly centered around. 

Here's a lineup: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. Or maybe Karl-Anthony Towns, or Joel Embiid.

Either way, you could put five players on the court who boast insane length and athleticism, while having no specific position. This new All-Star format is pretty much the only way this can happen.

Let's make it a reality.

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John Wall is no longer allowed to dunk at Wizards practice per Scott Brooks' rules

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John Wall is no longer allowed to dunk at Wizards practice per Scott Brooks' rules

John Wall is a former NBA dunk contest winner, but Wizards head coach Scott Brooks now has a rule prohibiting the four-time All-Star from dunking during or after practices. 

Whether it will be strictly enforced or not, it's all in an effort to preserve Wall's health. The 27-year-old returned on Wednesday after sitting out nine games due to two procedures on his left knee, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections. He sustained the injury when he bumped knees with a player on the Dallas Mavericks in a game on Nov. 7.

Now, the Wizards don't want to take any chances.

"I've done it in the past with you can imagine who that plays the same type of way," Brooks said, referring to Russell Westbrook, whom he coached with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"[Westbrook] likes to dunk, he likes to dunk over you and he likes to talk about his dunk over you. They're the same mentality. I had that same talk with him. Save those dunks for the game. You're allowed to do it in the game, but not in practice," Brooks said.


Brooks was realistic when asked whether Wall will actually follow the rule. He laughed when recalling whether Westbrook fell in line.

"They just looked at me, smirked and said yes. But they don't listen. They're aggressive and they love to attack, but yeah that's a rule," he said.

Wall was also asked about staying out of harm's way after shootaround on Friday morning. The reporter's question suggested Wall takes more falls than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.

"I'm on the ground more than [Cousins], but I don't get the calls as often like roughing the passer," Wall joked. "But it just happens. I took a bad knee at a bad angle and there was nothing I could control that with. I play the way I play... You do try to do things so you don't take as much of a pounding. That's all I know, just all-out."


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Wizards vs. Clippers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

USA Today Sports

Wizards vs. Clippers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and the L.A. Clippers on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Will Morris or Mahinmi play?

The Wizards now have John Wall back and that should certainly help them against the Clippers, but two of their big men are currently dealing with injuries. Ian Mahinmi has a right knee strain and has missed two straight games. He had an MRI that came back clean and is considered day-to-day.

Markieff Morris is also day-to-day, though it's unclear exactly what his injury is. He was listed as out due to right hip soreness on Wednesday night, the first we had heard of that injury. Then, after the game, head coach Scott Brooks mentioned his left ankle and his groin. Basically, Morris is banged up and the fact he isn't 100 percent probably helps explain why he's been playing so poorly in recent games. We'll see if he can give it a go on Friday.


Payback time

The Wizards see the Clippers less than a week after suffering one of their worst losses of the season to them in L.A. This gives the Wizards an opportunity to right a wrong and get even. The Wizards led by as much as 13 points before L.A. clawed back and won by one point in game that included a bizarre ending where the clock operator started early on the Wizards' final play.

Beyond the ending, several things stood out about that game. Morris (two points, one rebound) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (zero points, one rebound) had their worst games of the season. Lou Williams (35 points) was unstoppable. And both Austin Rivers (16 points) and Williams hit big shots down the stretch. This time, though, the Wizards have Wall and he will definitely make a difference. Rivers is also out due to a concussion.


Beal's shooting

The return of Wall should help everyone in the Wizards' starting lineup get open looks and improve their efficiency. He's a master at setting teammates up for the shots they want. Bradley Beal, for one, could use some help getting out of a recent shooting funk.

Though Beal is averaging 23.7 points in his last three games, two of them losses, he's shooting just 36.8 percent, well below his season average of 45.3. Beal has not been himself from three-point range in general this season. He's hitting just 35.8 percent, a far cry from his 39.5 career clip. If anyone can help, it's Wall who often finds Beal wide open off screens and especially on the fastbreak.