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Path to All-Star Game more clear for Bradley Beal than John Wall despite early votes

Path to All-Star Game more clear for Bradley Beal than John Wall despite early votes

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.

RELATED: One of the Warriors is getting a crazy amount of votes

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.

MORE WIZARDS: High-percentage looks likely to continue to be there for Morris, Gortat

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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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