Wizards

Quick Links

John Wall not making the All-Star Game may be a good thing

John Wall not making the All-Star Game may be a good thing

BY TYLER BYRUM

Last week the NBA announced the starters for the All-Star game and John Wall was not among the list. Picking up the two starting guard positions were Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan.

Making the Feb. 19 exhibition roster is always a great accolade for a player to add to their resume, in John Wall's first six seasons in the NBA he has been honored three times, being named a starter once. When the NBA coaches vote on the reserves this upcoming week, it is likely that Wall, who leads the East guards in double-doubles (25), will be selected.

In two of his All-Star selections, it came from the coaches vote for reserves. The other guards who he will be measured up against include, Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, and Dwayne Wade. 

But say Wall does not make the game in New Orleans, it actually would not be a bad thing for the Wizards.

While the 26-year-old will be disappointed in what would be a snub, he has been a workhorse for the Wizards this season. He leads the team in minutes per game with 36.3 and is tied for seventh in the NBA; it is right on pace with his career average (36.0). When Wall is in the game he plays at an extremely high level, he is the only guard in the Eastern Conference that averages a double-double (23.1 ppg, 10.3 apg).

Remember Wall is coming off of two knee procedures this past off-season and during a stretch earlier in the season he was missing back-to-backs.

In the two games the guard was not in the lineup, Washington was 0-2 with a loss to the Magic and a 106-95 loss to the Bulls. Given it is a small sample size in games that happened at the beginning of the season, prior to this season Wall had only missed eight games in the past three seasons. If Wall were to not partake in the All-Star game, that would give him a week off from the brutal NBA schedule.

Following the break, the Wizards and Wall will face an important stretch of games as the entire association begins to make a playoff push. Washington will face the surging Philadelphia 76ers, the surprisingly good Utah Jazz, the Golden State Warriors, and the Toronto Raptors twice. 

During that stretch, the team will need all of Wall they can get. And normally an angry John Wall is a good John Wall.

RELATED: Wall hopeful he can make fourth All-Star game

Quick Links

Rui Hachimura falls to Devin Booker in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Rui Hachimura falls to Devin Booker in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Coming off a nail-biting win over Donovan Mitchell in the first round, Rui Hachimura lost to Suns star Devin Booker in the quarterfinals of the NBA 2K Players Tournament Thursday night. 

The Wizards' rookie forward played with the Clippers, while Booker went with the Mavericks. Not only did Hachimura have the more talented team in this matchup, but it looked like he had a coach sitting near him the whole time too. 

Hachimura's biggest challenge in this one was finding easy points against Booker's defense. Booker did a good job using his center to close down driving lanes while leaving Hachimura's big men wide open in the corner.

The Clippers bigs aren't great outside shooters, so outside of a few surprising makes from Montrezl Harrell, it was a rough night offensively. Hachimura tried to go with a small-ball lineup with Marcus Morris at the center spot, but then he started giving up way too many offensive rebounds. 

On the flip side when Hachimura tried to do the same thing to Booker, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber were able to knock those shots down. That left the door open for Luka Doncic to get open looks and that's how Booker eventually pulled away in the second half. 

It was a good run for Hachimura in the tournament. He knocked off the four-seed in Mitchell and delivered one of the more memorable moments of the first round. He just ran into a buzzsaw in Booker, who may have a decent chance to win the whole thing. 

The semifinals and finals of the 2K Players Tournament will begin on Saturday. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

GM Tommy Sheppard says Wizards plan to retain Shabazz Napier in free agency

GM Tommy Sheppard says Wizards plan to retain Shabazz Napier in free agency

With the NBA season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the extra free time has given teams an opportunity to reflect on the first 64 games of the 2019-20 campaign. 

Whichever direction the league decides to go with returning to play, the 2020 NBA draft and free agency period loom large once the season is over. For the Wizards, they have a pair of key players set to hit the open market: Davis Bertans and Shabazz Napier. 

John Wall's return significantly elevates expectations surrounding the Wizards next season and will make the team's offseason decision-making process that much more important. In the case of Napier and Bertans, Washington's general manager Tommy Sheppard talked highly of both in a Q&A with Dave Johnson Thursday

"I think with [Napier and Bertans], when we acquired them not as rentals we acquired them to stay here," Sheppard said. "I think the players that we acquired, they're here to show that they can be here for the future. With Davis and Shabazz, they showed enough to us that certainly we would love to retain them. We plan to."

What Sheppard had to say about Bertans isn't necessarily new. He maintained the stance all year that the Wizards intended to keep Bertans this summer and held true to it when Washington reportedly turned down offers including first-round picks at the trade deadline. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Napier's future with the team, on the other hand, has not been talked about publicly by someone like Sheppard. The Wizards acquired him from the Nuggets in exchange for Jordan McRae at the trade deadline and the six-year veteran appeared in 15 games for Washington before the season was suspended. 

Napier started eight games and averaged 12.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 43.1% from the field and 38.1% from three. Based on production alone, it's not that surprising Sheppard wants to bring the former UConn star back. 

However, if the Wizards can re-sign Napier this summer, they'd have quite a lot of viable point guards on their roster going into next season. Wall will be back and Ish Smith will be in the final year of his two-year contract.

Napier would figure to be either the third point guard or Washington's backup shooting guard depending on how you look at things. Then you have to ask how comfortable you are with Napier potentially taking minutes away from Jerome Robinson and ball-handling opportunities from Troy Brown Jr., both young wings the Wizards need to take a step forward next year. 

But shooting and playmaking are at a premium in the NBA today, and as defensively challenged as an Ish Smith-Shabazz Napier backcourt would be off the bench, there's no doubt Washington's second unit would be able to put up a ton of points. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: