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John Wall reacts to All-NBA snub


John Wall reacts to All-NBA snub

Seemingly every offseason of John Wall's NBA career involves some discussion about whether the point guard is overlooked around the league.

This year will be no different.

The NBA announced results of voting for its first, second and third all-league teams on Thursday. The Washington Wizards' All-Star did not make the cut

From the 129 ballots cast -- before the playoffs started and with general positions in mind -- Wall received votes totaling 50 points, which ranked seventh among guards. NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry (Golden State) and James Harden (Houston) were named to the first team; Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) on the second team with Klay Thompson (Golden State) and Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) on the third team.

By any measure, Wall deserved a spot. He averaged 17.6 points and finished second in the league behind Paul with 10.0 assists during the regular season. His drive-and-kick style combined with blinding speed on the dribble fueled Washington's attack. Work on the other end of the court led to second-team All-Defensive honors. And yet...

Harden finished second in MVP voting behind Curry, ahead of Westbrook (fourth) and Paul (sixth). Though technically listed as a point guard, Irving truly stopped masquerading as one this season, his first played with LeBron James. Irving averaged 21.7 points, tied for ninth during the regular season with Thompson, who joined fellow "Splash Brother" Curry as the offensive forces for a Golden State team that finished with the best record in the NBA.

Wall is the straw that stirs the Wizards' drink, period. Considering his two-way talent, he deserved a spot at least on that third team.

Differences of opinions happen in sports. Debates are part of the fun even they make the most rationale of voices lose their mind at times. One of those guards wasn't going to be on the outside looking in. The curious aspect to some is why repeatedly it's Wall.

In 2013, an ESPN list of the top 25 NBA players under the age of 25 didn't include Wall. It did include Ed Davis.

Before last season, a Sports Illustrated ranking slotted Wall 31st among all NBA players. He noticed, tweeting out at the time, "More motivation, Love it."

This came shortly after Wall was cut by Team USA in August ahead of the World Cup. "I guess I’m overlooked again," Wall told CSNwashington.com. "I guess have to prove myself one more time."

Then he went out and started in the All-Star game, led the Wizards to their most regular season wins since the 1978-79 and topped all players in assists per game during the playoffs.

During team exit interviews on Monday, Wall was asked whether after this dynamic season if we've reached a point where even he couldn't use the overlooked angle anymore.

"It's always the same. I'm just waiting to see the list," he stated. "That's all I can say: I'll wait and see the list."

On Thursday, Wall saw another list.

Here we go again.

MORE WIZARDS: John Wall fails to crack All-NBA team selections

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Potential coaching staff changes rocket into discussion for Wizards

Potential coaching staff changes rocket into discussion for Wizards

We can begin free agent watch with the Washington Wizards way before July 1.

This isn’t about players. Coaching changes can happen whenever.

News broke Saturday out of Houston that the Rockets would not retain associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik. Considered one of the league’s top defensive minds, Bzdelik’s relationship with Scott Brooks along with comments made by the Wizards head coach at the NBA Combine makes this transaction interesting.

Bzdelik, 66, gave Brooks his first NBA coaching job when the then Denver Nuggets head coach hired the former player in 2003.

"I'm thankful for coach Bzdelik," Brooks told the Houston Chronicle in 2016.  "He gave me my first NBA coaching start. One of the best coaches I've ever been around. He has great understanding of the game, both ends of the floor.”

Fast forward to Thursday inside Chicago’s Quest Multisport facility. Amid 5-on-5 games involving 2019 draft prospects, players holding court with media members and the general convention vibe that comes with the NBA Combine, Brooks spent a few minutes chatting with reporters.

Among the non-draft or general manager search topics, whether any changes to the coaching staff were forthcoming.

"I’ve talked to Ted. I definitely talked Ted,” Brooks began his reply, referencing Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. “I have a lot of respect for our organization. I have to get better, first and foremost…Will the staff remain the same? Every year, staffs change. Every year staffs change. We're probably going to make some changes. I don't know if it's for sure. Everything is still up in the air.”

Brooks also noted change could come from members of his staff seeking opportunities elsewhere. Tony Brown, Brooks’ lead assistant during his three seasons with the Wizards, became a coaching free agent following Washington’s 32-50 season, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller.

Two days after Brooks’ comments came news of Bzdelik’s exit in Houston.

Bzdelik, a former Bullets assistant from 1988-94 and three-time college head coach, retired following the 2017-18 season. He returned to the Rockets in November following Houston’s slow start. The associate head coach is credited with guiding the team’s defensive improvement as the Rockets rose up the Western Conference standings.

The Houston Chronicle reported Bzdelik, whose contract expired after this season, remained uncommitted to returning. The Rockets announced Saturday they would not renew his deal.

The Wizards do not want a repeat of their defensive struggles. Only the Atlanta Hawks allowed more points per game than the 116.9 Washington surrendered last season. The Wizards ranked 28th in opponent field goal percentage (48.0) and 27th in 3-point shooting percentage (37.0).

It’s unclear how the Wizards fix those defensive concerns based solely on personnel. The current roster with five healthy players does not include any forwards or mobile big men. Point guard John Wall is expected to miss the majority of the upcoming season following February’s surgery for a ruptured Achilles. Wall, an erratic defensive presence in recent seasons, was previously selected to the NBA’s all-defensive team in 2015.

Coaching strategies could become the primary driver of change on the defensive end. The man who brought Brooks into the coaching fraternity would make for an obvious addition if both sides are interested.

"The accountability that [Jeff] taught me with the coaching staff and the players is second to none,” Brooks told the Chronicle in 2016. “I learned about work. I learned how to transfer my playing career into a coaching career with his help."

News of the next front office leader likely comes before coaching staff tweaks.

Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly was offered the same position with the Wizards Saturday after Denver granted Washington permission to meet. In the interim, the Wizards sent a contingent of scouting personnel along with Brooks to Chicago as the team conducted player interviews and watched scrimmages.

“Ted is going to make a decision and I trust that I going to be the best for the program moving forward,” Brooks said Thursday. “As of right now, (interim GM Tommy Sheppard) is doing a great job leading the group. We all feel comfortable with what’s going on. Hopefully, things work out and we move forward as an organization. We all have to get better, myself included.”


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Five things to know about Wizards general manager search candidate Tim Connelly

Five things to know about Wizards general manager search candidate Tim Connelly

The Washington Wizards have reportedly offered their vacant general manager position to Tim Connelly. The news was first reported by the Athletic.

Here are five things to know about him...

1. Connelly is a Baltimore native who transferred to Catholic University in D.C. during his junior year in college, graduating from there in 1999. 

2. Connelly began his NBA front office career with the Wizards, starting as an intern in 1996. He spent a decade with the organization, holding such roles as assistant video coordinator, head scout, and director of player personnel. 

3. After leaving the Wizards, Connelly spent three seasons serving as the assistant general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans. 

4. Connelly joined the Nuggets organization in 2013 as the executive vice president of basketball operations. He was promoted to President of Basketball Operations in 2017. Connelly has been part of a Denver front office that has drafted the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris over the last five years. 

5. Connelly has six siblings, including four brothers: Joe, Pat, Dan and Kevin. All four of them have also worked in basketball in some capacity, Joe, Pat, and Dan all following Tim into the NBA ranks.