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Morning tip: John Wall's sights on All-Star Game and All-NBA team

Morning tip: John Wall's sights on All-Star Game and All-NBA team

His sixth game of 40 minutes or more in the books, John Wall finally has the Wizards where they hadn't been since Nov. 24, 2015. Keeping them with a winning record, with the second game of a back-to-back at the Boston Celtics tonight, is key to his hopes of being a four-time All-Star and first-time All-NBA performer.

"I've been an All-Star before. I've been a starter. I've never been on an All-NBA team," said Wall, who hit the game-winning shot and registered his 23rd double-double vs. the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. "I'll be very disappointed if I don't make it this year, to be honest with you. On both."

Based on the first round of All-Star fan voting, which counts for 50% of the equation to determine starters for the Feb. 19 game in New Orleans, Wall likely won't be a starter as in 2015 when the Wizards opened that season 22-8 and played on Christmas Day when he dominated the N.Y. Knicks. They started 2-8 this year but are 19-18 after erasing an 18-point deficit to beat Chicago as Wall had a game-high 26 points, 14 assists and five rebounds. It was his 10th game of 12 more more assists.

No other conference player is in Wall's zip code when it comes to the points-assist double-double. He was just seventh in the fan voting among East guards at 87,000 -- 41,000-plus behind sixth-place Kyle Lowry and fifth-place Derrick Rose. The top two, as it stands Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade, will start but media and players also will vote to comprise the other 50%. Coaches will determine the reserves. The next round of fan voting comes out Thursday.

The lack of national attention and respect has long bothered Wall, who was irked at end-of-regular-season media voting that put Irving on the All-NBA team ahead of him for the 2014-15 season.

The Wizards were just 41-41 last year and missed the playoffs. Wall required surgeries to both knees May 5 but still averaged 19.9 points and 10 assists per game. Despite having to use part of this regular season to play his way back into shape, Wall is putting up career-highs of 23.4 points, 10.4 assists and 2.2 steals to go with 4.5 rebounds. He was named Player of the Month in December when he posted 10 double-doubles and set a career-high with 52 points.

"I don't know how you can start an All-Star Game and don't make an All-NBA team," Wall said of what he perceived as a slight in 2015. "I was close to averaging 20 and 10 (last year). Both of those recognitions mean a lot to me but All-NBA team is very important. I know there's a lot of great guards in this league and they're all playing well. 

"I know you don't get noticed if your team is not winning. We're a team that's back in the playoff picture. I think that should help me get over the hump from where we started early in the season. I don't know too many guys that won Player of the Month and wasn't an All-Star or made the All-NBA team. ... Got to see what happens."

MORE WIZARDS: Wall to Bulls' Valentine after dance: 'You woke a monster'

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Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

Wizards waive three, sign 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks

As the NBA regular season approaches, the Washington Wizards seek to finalize their roster.

The Wizards announced on Wednesday that they have waived Phil Booth, Justin Anderson and Jemerrio Jones. The team also signed 2017 first-rounder Anzejs Pasecniks and small forward Jalen Jones, the team announced.

Pasecniks and Jones were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, meaning that if they are waived, they will have the opportunity to play for the Go-Go, the Wizards' G-League affiliate. Booth was on an Exhibit 10 deal, so he will report to the Go-Go after being waived.

Pasecniks, a 7-foot center from Latvia, was the 25th overall selection from the 2017 draft. The Orlando Magic drafted him and moved him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for draft picks. The 76ers renounced his rights in June.

Pasecniks played on the Wizards summer league team, averaging 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. Jalen Jones has averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc in 32 games over two seasons with three teams.

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John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

John Wall embracing role as assistant coach during injury rehab

WASHINGTON -- John Wall has already made enough money during his basketball career to last a lifetime and his new supermax contract worth $170 million is just kicking in. When he is done playing in the NBA, he doesn't have to do anything at all if he doesn't want to.

But there is at least a small part of Wall that believes coaching could be in his future. He loves the game enough to not rule out the possibility.

This year will give him a taste of what being a coach is all about. While he rehabs his ruptured left Achilles, he will serve as an unofficial assistant to head coach Scott Brooks. Wall will be asked to break down film with players, advise on plays to run and help the team's young point guards in practice.

Wall isn't sure as of today whether he wants to coach when his playing days are over. But he may have an answer in just a few months.

"I think this year will tell me whether I can be a coach or not," Wall told NBC Sports Washington on the Wizards Talk podcast. 

"I think you have to have a lot of patience and you've gotta know how to interact with every player. Every player's attitudes and character and mood swings are totally different. I learned from when a coach tried to coach me when I was young and I wasn't the guy to coach."

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard envisions Wall as an important part of the locker room, even when he isn't playing. Part of his role may include some tough conversations with players. As Sheppard says, Wall may be able to deliver some messages that resonate more from a peer than if they came from a coach. 

Wall knows he can help in that regard. He has long been a vocal presence for the Wizards and had to assume the role as a team leader at an early age. After coming in as the No. 1 overall pick, he was a franchise player from the time he was 19 years old.

Wall's personality may also lend itself to those duties. He is very honest, whether it be with teammates or the media. 

"I like to speak my mind," he said. "It's like my momma always told me, 'I'd rather you speak your mind and say what you want to say, but say it in a respectful manner and a respectful way.'"

Wall, in fact, has a detailed philosophy on being honest. He doesn't like to lie whether it's in a media setting, to teammates or in everyday life.

It's not quite a Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' deal, but Wall sees no point in beating around the bush. If he has something to say to a teammate or the media, he will say it.

"I don't know how to not give you the truth," he said. "What I've learned is that when you lie, you've gotta remember that lie exactly the way you said it for the next 12 people you tell it to. So, why make it that tough?"

Wall is set to miss at least the first few months of the Wizards' 2019-20 season and he could be sidelined the entire year. He said he hopes to have a similar impact that Kristi Tolliver did with the Mystics this past season where she remained active as a veteran leader in the locker room despite not being able to help the team on the floor for weeks due to a knee injury.

Missing so much time due to injury is not the ideal situation for Wall, but he plans to make the most of it.

"It will make my game a lot smarter and better for when I come back," he said.

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