The path to a fourth consecutive NBA All-Star Game for John Wall never was going to be easy, and despite having 21 double-doubles, he already appears too far out to have any reasonable shot at getting in through the popular vote.
Thursday, the first tallies were released, and Wall was seventh among East guards with 87,360, trailing Kyrie Irving (543,030), Dwyane Wade (278,052), DeMar DeRozan (253,340), Isaiah Thomas (193,297), Derrick Rose (129,924) and Kyle Lowry (128,940). Wall's backcourt mate, Bradley Beal, didn't even make the top 10, which is rounded out by Avery Bradley (32,822).
The Wizards (16-18) haven't had any national TV exposure and have struggled to get above .500, which has been a hindrance. The one time that Wall was voted a starter by fans came two years ago when they had a 22-8 start and routed the New York Knicks in a Christmas Day game at Madison Square Garden.
The top two guards in the voting will be named the starters. The top three frontcourt vote-getters will start. Media and players, for the first time, can vote to balance the scales. Fan voting counts for 50 percent and media and players are 25 percent each.
Wall's best chance is to be voted in as a reserve for the second year in a row by NBA coaches, but that's going to require a few things in the current voting:
- Wade has to drop out of the top two guards. He's more popular but not as deserving. If an undeserving player locks up a starting spot, it means there is one fewer spot available on the bench for a deserving player. Rose is the other less deserving player ahead of Wall and wouldn't beat him out unless he vaults to the top two unexpectedly.
- Irving is a point guard who really is a shooter. He can be used in this exhibition off the ball, which, in theory, still keeps a point guard spot open. That leaves Wall versus Thomas and Lowry, both of whom are on teams that have better records.
- The Wizards have six more games until the voting closes Jan. 16. It starts Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday at the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday versus the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday at the Boston Celtics, Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers and Monday with the Portland Trail Blazers. Being an over.500 team after this stretch ends will help, though it's unlikely it can vault Wall or Beal high enough.
The next voting update comes Jan. 12 and concludes four days later. The starters will be announced Jan. 19. The coaches' vote is due Jan. 26. There will be five more games, a total of 11, for the Wall and Beal to get the ship on the right course to have any chance of making the cut.
Even though Beal isn't listed, the path to him becoming an All-Star for the first time is easier with Wade and DeRozan, his toughest competition at shooting guard.