The NBA will make it official later tonight, but John Wall has been selected by the league’s coaches as an All-Star reserve, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com on Thursday. Of the four times the Wizards' point guard has been, this one will mean the most.
"I think so. It means a lot," said Wall, who had surgeries to both knees May 5, had to play his way into shape during the season and has an East leading 26 double-doubles among guards. "When I was going through the process of listening to the doctor was telling me how long it might take. 'You might not be ready to start the season right away.' I really wasn't supposed to play back-to-backs until January so I think that would've hurt us as a team but also hurt me."
Wall finished sixth among East guards in the fan/media/player voting that was announced last week though he is the only one averaging a double-double (23.1 points, 10.1 assists) and now elevating the Wizards (25-20) to fifth in the conference and just two in the loss column from No. 2. He started to play back-to-back games in November.
"Nobody has told me," said Wall, who hasn't been told officially by the league that he has made it. "We started off pretty bad. Wasn't in position to be a playoff team. There a lot of great guards that have been playing well in the East this year. With us having a great December, winning a lot of games, starting off January very well and being in the playoff race that would solidify it."
The Wizards have been 23-12 since starting 2-8. Wall struggled defensively because of his ailments all last season but still averaged 20 points and 10 assists. He struggled to begin this season, too, but has dropped the extra weight and is playing at an elite level on both ends during this run that has included 14 consecutive home victories.
Two seasons ago, Wall was chose to the All-NBA Defensive team, and it was his only time he was named an All-Star starter.
"Doesn't surprise me," Wizards coach Scott Brooks. "He's been an All-Star for the last three years. He's having another great year. I haven't officially heard but it's probably safe to say that's definitely is going to happen. He's done a great job of leading us and putting us in position to win. His shooting has imrpoved, his playmaking, his defense. I think everything is better across the board is much better."
Wall played through a right pinkie injury two weeks ago and a badly swollen left wrist. He shot just 4-for-21 in that loss to the Boston Celtics, but he rectified himself earlier this week with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a blowout in the rematch.
"I like his toughnes,' Brooks said. "I like players that play with a fire. He brings it every night. I like the fact that his speed allows him to get to the basket. He doesn't settle. Last game he had nine or 10 drives to the basket. His jump shot has improved. His three-point shot is improving. ... He loves to play. It takes a lot to get him out of the game."