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NBA All-Star Game won't feature Wall as starter for East


NBA All-Star Game won't feature Wall as starter for East

It's official that John Wall will not be a starter for the second year in a row at the NBA All-Star Game, with Dwyane Wade and the surprise Kyle Lowry getting the nod for the East in the popular vote among fans, the league announced Thursday night.

Wall, however, will be a strong candidate to be voted as a reserve by coaches. Lowry eclipsed Kyrie Irving in the final voting that closed on Monday to take the starting spot by roughly 66,000 votes. Lowry plays for the Toronto Raptors, the host city for All-Star weekend on Feb. 14, and his backcourt mate DeMar DeRozan is likely to make the cut as a reserve.

If Lowry hadn't been named a starter, Wall would've had to compete with Lowry and DeRozan when history shows the host city (see Anthony Davis' first selection in New Orleans). Now it's likely Wall or Irving, who has played in just 14 games after a knee injury delayed the start to his season, for a spot. 

Unlike fan voting, coaches tend to reward accomplishment and what a player means to his team in weighing the candidates. Irving plays with LeBron James. Wall has 23 double-doubles which is by far the leader in the East among guards despite not having Bradley Beal and a host of others for most of the season. 

Now onto the starters for the East: Lowry, Wade (Heat), James (Cavs), Paul George (Pacers) and Carmelo Anthony (Knicks).

East reserves in contention: Wall, Irving, DeRozan, Jimmy Butler (Bulls), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Isaiah Thomas (Celtics), Paul Millsap (Hawks), Hassan Whiteside (Heat), Chris Bosh (Heat).

The West starters: Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Steph Curry (Warriors), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Kevin Durant (Thunder) and Kawhi Leonard.

West reserves in contention: Draymond Green (Warriors), Chris Paul (Clippers), Damian Lillard (Blazers), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Klay Thompson (Warriors), James Harden (Rockets), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavs), Marc Gasol (Grizzlies), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings).

The reserves will be formally announced next Thursday.

Here's the final tally for both conferences:

Eastern Conference

1             LeBron James (Cle) 1,089,206
2             Paul George (Ind) 711,595
3             Carmelo Anthony (NY) 567,348
4             Pau Gasol (Chi) 566,988
5             Andre Drummond (Det) 515,296
6             Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 473,579
7             Chris Bosh (Mia) 351,420
8             Kevin Love (Cle) 332,685
9             Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 301,362
10           Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 84,617
11           Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 73,079
12           Joakim Noah (Chi) 48,509
13           DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 46,044
14           Marcin Gortat (Was) 43,496
15           Paul Millsap (Atl) 41,654

1             Dwyane Wade (Mia) 941,466
2             Kyle Lowry (Tor) 646,441
3             Kyrie Irving (Cle) 580,651
4             Jimmy Butler (Chi) 564,637
5             DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 444,868
6             John Wall (Was) 368,686
7             Derrick Rose (Chi) 302,389
8             Jeremy Lin (Cha) 195,920
9             Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 153,642
10           Reggie Jackson (Det) 76,688

Western Conference

1             Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,891,614
2             Kevin Durant (OKC) 980,787
3             Kawhi Leonard (SA) 782,339
4             Zaza Pachulia (Dal) 768,112
5             Draymond Green (GS) 726,616
6             Blake Griffin (LAC) 651,860
7             Enes Kanter (OKC) 534,499
8             Tim Duncan (SA) 431,087
9             Anthony Davis (NO) 400,688
10           DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 364,270
11           DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 269,427
12           LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 268,003
13           Dwight Howard (Hou) 219,761
14           Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 173,317
15           Harrison Barnes (GS) 155,289

1             Stephen Curry (GS) 1,604,325
2             Russell Westbrook (OKC) 772,009
3             Chris Paul (LAC) 624,334
4             Klay Thompson (GS) 555,513
5             James Harden (Hou) 430,777
6             Manu Ginobili (SA) 226,289
7             Rajon Rondo (Sac) 200,518
8             Tony Parker (SA) 195,472
9             Andre Iguodala (GS) 181,142
10           Damian Lillard (Por) 158,360

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards' midseason report: Reasons for optimism

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Brandon Clarke

2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Brandon Clarke

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Brandon Clarke

School: Gonzaga
Position: Forward
Age: 22 (turns 23 in September)
Height: 6-8
Weight: 207
Wingspan: 6-8
Max vertical: 40.5 in.

2018/19 stats: 16.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 3.2 bpg, 68.7 FG% (6.8/9.7), 26.7 3PT% (0.1/0.4), 69.4 FT%

Player comparison: Montrezl Harrell, Dominic McGuire

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 17th, NBADraft.net 23rd, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 25th, Ringer 11th

5 things to know:

*Clarke is a forward who probably swings more towards the four-spot at the NBA level. He is considered one of the best defensive players in this draft, having won the West Coast Conference defensive player of the year award this past season. He averaged 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game for Gonzaga and was known for his versatility to guard multiple positions. 

*There are questions about whether Clarke's shot-blocking will translate to the next level. There aren't a ton of 6-foot-8 rim protectors in the NBA and there have been many before Clarke who racked up blocks in college but then couldn't in the pros. His height suggests a potential problem and also his lack of a plus-wingspan. But working in Clarke's favor is his 40 1/2-inch vertical leap. Only three players had better numbers at this year's combine and all were guards. That type of jumping ability is rarely seen with players at Clarke's size.

*A big concern for Clarke is that at this point he can't shoot from the outside. He attempted only 24 threes in his three years in college and made six of them. If he can't develop a three-point shot, he will need to live in the midrange and around the rim and that's just not how the best players his size play these days. Clarke doesn't need to become a sharpshooter, but a respectable three would open up his game.

*Clarke is going to be 23 years old by the time the season tips off. That is quite old for an NBA prospect, as many of the top players will only be 19 at the start of the year. That could mean he will contribute right away in the NBA, but it could also tell teams that his ceiling is limited compared to younger, less-polished players. Clarke just took a little longer to develop into a pro prospect after starting his college career at San Jose State. He transferred and played one year at Gonzaga. Dropping a guy's stock just because of his age, though, can be risky. Malcolm Brogdon has been making teams pay for that decision for years.

*He is from Canada. The country continues to pump out top NBA prospects and this year alone can claim Clarke, R.J. Barrett of Duke and Nickeil Alexander-Walker of Virginia Tech. Though many have come from the Toronto area, Clarke hails from Vancouver, in the western part of Canada. He also spent much of his youth in the United States, having moved to Arizona when he was three.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards like Clarke, as evidenced by their interview with him at the NBA combine. And there are reasons to suggest he would fit in quite well with what they are looking for.

He would be plug-and-play and provide an instant impact at a position of need. Depending on what they do with their free agent forwards, he could even start as a rookie at the four.

They also need a complete overhaul defensively and he would help them improve on that end of the floor. He would provide rim protection and help shore up their midrange defense as well. 

Clarke plays smart, team-oriented defense and the Wizards need more of that. He could help them change their mindset on that end of the floor. Clarke seems like the type of player good defensive teams like the Bucks and Pacers would covet, that too often in recent years the Wizards have overlooked.

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.