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Remember when John Wall didn't get a single vote among GMs for best passers in the NBA?

Remember when John Wall didn't get a single vote among GMs for best passers in the NBA?

The praise being heaped on John Wall now that the Wizards are in the playoffs for the third time in four years is deserved. But it reeks of overcompensation in some circles.

Before the regular season began, a survey of the league’s 30 general managers ranked players in all sorts of categories, including best passers. The results of the survey suggested one of two things: 29 other GMs aren’t very smart or they didn’t actually vote, instead farming out the responsibility for their votes to someone else on their staff.

(Yes, this happens in polls that are far more serious than a preseason NBA poll. In USA TODAY’s coaches’ polls for college football and basketball, for instance, the actual coaches don’t always do the voting. A lot of assistants do it and sometimes they’re not even assistant coaches.)

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Chris Paul, LeBron James, Ricky Rubio, Rajon Rondo and even Ben Simmons, a rookie who’d never played an NBA game (and missed the entire season with injury) got votes. Wall somehow didn’t (his own GM, Ernie Grunfeld, wasn't allowed to vote for him).

Of course, he took exception to the survey, and for good reason. Wall was among the leaders in assists in 2015-16 when he averaged 10.2 and averaged a career-high 10.7 assists per game for second-best in the league this season. He didn't suddenly become a good passer. 

In Game 4 against the Celtics, he pulled off one of the sickest assists in the postseason to Marcin Gortat.
 
The omission is a bit embarrassing, but 29 other teams — not even the Sacramento Kings — aren't that clueless. Leaving Wall out among the top passers is like forgetting to vote for Steph Curry among shooters.

It's more of an indication of brand recognition, though you'd think NBA personnel would know better that to gloss over Wall in such a manner. He doesn't get the respect that his talent should demand. Wall and the Wizards might be able to change that for good if they get past Boston and into the conference finals for the first time in four decades.

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Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Rui Hachimura continued his dominance in international friendlies Saturday as he put up 31 points and five rebounds in a winning effort over Germany.

After a highlight-reel performance in Thursday's loss to Argentina, Hachimura was back at it two days later.

That block at the 37-second mark is just filthy. It would also be goaltending in the NBA, but FIBA rules allow players to touch the ball at pretty much any time once it's made contact with some part of the hoop. Nevertheless, the athleticism to make this play is what stands out.

But Hachimura wasn't finished.

He looks more like Steph Curry leading that breakaway, dribbling behind his back and finishing at the rim himself than a 6-foot-8 forward.

With the international friendly schedule at its end, Japan will tip off the 2020 FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against Turkey. After a matchup with the Czech Republic, Hachimura and Japan will take on his future NBA opponents when they face the United States on Sept. 5.

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Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Maryland native Quinn Cook tells the behind-the-scenes story of his road to the Lakers

Before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a blockbuster summer that saw them land Anthony Davis, before he won the NBA Finals as a role player with the Golden State Warriors, and before he averaged double-digit scoring and won the NCAA tournament at Duke, Quinn Cook was a star point guard at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.

Cook was in town this week for his fourth annual youth basketball camp at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover. NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller sat down with the former Stag, who he’s known since the now-Lakers guard was 14 years old, on the Wizards Talk podcast.

Miller talked with Cook about why he feels connected to kids in the local community and what it was like losing his father as a teenager. One of his closest friends is fellow DeMatha product Victor Oladipo, who helped him get through the loss of his father Ted when he died suddenly in 2008 after going into a coma following a colon procedure.

“My best friend Norman and Victor, their parents took them out of school, and they were with me for two weeks,” Cook said. “At the funeral, [head coach Mike] Jones had the entire DeMatha basketball program…come to the funeral and all sit together [with] their uniforms on.”

Cook also went on to talk about his time at Duke, the viral video in which he convinced some people at the mall he was J Cole and his obsession with winning before going into how he landed in Los Angeles this offseason.

“When Golden State withdrew their qualifying offer, I became unrestricted and had some teams call me and the Lakers thing, it just happened quick,” Cook said. “I had talks with them, AD called me, [LeBron James] called Rob Palinka for me, and Coach K called them, talked to Bron and stuff and we got it done.”

Check out the full podcast below and listen to Miller talk hoops every week on the Wizards Talk podcast.

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