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Wall loses ground to Irving in 2nd round of All-Star voting

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Wall loses ground to Irving in 2nd round of All-Star voting

The gulf between Kyrie Irving and John Wall widens when it comes to NBA All-Star fan voting, according to the second returns released by the league on Thursday.

Irving, who only has played seven games but electrified Verizon Center with 32 points in a dominant fourth quarter for the Cleveland Cavaliers to beat the Wizards on Wednesday, has gone from an edge of 35,000 above Wall in the first tallies Dec. 25 (138,191 to 103,094) to almost 64,000 votes ahead (271,094 to 207,274).

Wall was the starter last season for the East while Irving was the backup on the team.

The next ballot totals will be unveiled next Thursday and the voting closes Jan. 18. The top two backcourt players and two three frontcourt players in each conference will be the starters. The reserves, which seems a more likely route for Wall, will be chosen by NBA coaches on Jan. 28.

The All-Star Game will be played at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on Feb. 14.

If balloting ended today, these would be the East starters: LeBron James (Cavs), Paul George (Pacers) and Andre Drummond (Pistons); Dwyane Wade (Heat) and Irving (Cavs). 

West starters: Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Kevin Durant (Thunder) and Draymond Green (Warriors); Stephen Curry (Warriors) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder).

Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) is in range of Drummond, who is less than 6,000 votes ahead of him for the third and final frontcourt spot in the East. Wade appears to be a lock among the East guards with almost double Irving's vote totals (562,558). Kyle Lowry (Raptors) is less than 30,000 behind Irving for the starting point guard spot.

The closest race is in the West where Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) is less than 1,300 from unseating Green for the final frontcourt spot. Now No. 3, Green was fifth in the first round of voting, behind then-No. 3 Blake Griffin (Clippers) by about 22,000 votes and 4,000 behind Leonard. Griffin has plummeted to fifth, trailing Green by 34,000 in a major turnabout in voting.

 

East Frontcourt

1.          LeBron James (Cle) 636,388

2.          Paul George (Ind) 457,554

3.          Andre Drummond (Det) 261,158

4.          Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 255,536

5.          Pau Gasol (Chi) 209,006

6.          Chris Bosh (Mia) 194,429

7.          Kevin Love (Cle) 172,517

8.          Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 168,549

9.         Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 160,170

10.        Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 48,768

11.        Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 30,023

12.        Marcin Gortat (Was) 27,185

13.        Joakim Noah (Chi) 23,121

14.        DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 22,797

15.        Paul Millsap (Atl) 21,625

 

Guards

1.          Dwyane Wade (Mia) 562,558

2.          Kyrie Irving (Cle) 271,094

3.          Kyle Lowry (Tor) 242,276

4.          Jimmy Butler (Chi) 220,429

5.          John Wall (Was) 207,274

6.          DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 170,539

7.          Derrick Rose (Chi) 159,787

8.          Jeremy Lin (Cha) 122,988

9.          Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 87,452

10.        Reggie Jackson (Det) 44,525

 

West Frontcourt

1.          Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,262,118

2.          Kevin Durant (OKC) 616,096

3.          Draymond Green (GS) 332,223

4.          Kawhi Leonard (SA) 330,929

5.          Blake Griffin (LAC) 298,212

6.          Anthony Davis (NO) 261,491

7.          Tim Duncan (SA) 228,995

8.          Zaza Pachulia (Dal) 194,421

9.          DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 190,060

10.        Enes Kanter (OKC) 183,468

11.        LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 124,404

12.        Dwight Howard (Hou) 120,424

13.        Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 99,681

14.       DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 91,186

15.        Harrison Barnes (GS) 82,427

 

Guards

1.          Stephen Curry (GS) 925,789

2.          Russell Westbrook (OKC) 479,512

3.          Chris Paul (LAC) 268,672

4.          Klay Thompson (GS) 267,602

5.          James Harden (Hou) 249,877

6.          Rajon Rondo (Sac) 120,767

7.          Andre Iguodala (GS) 111,575

8.          Manu Ginobili (SA) 100,602

9.          Tony Parker (SA) 86,238

10.        Damian Lillard (Por) 81,035

RELATED: Dudley: Not knowing personnel bites Wizards again

 

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Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason


The Wizards closed their 2019-20 preseason schedule with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, which means up next is the regular season opener on Wednesday night in Dallas. Now that the exhibition schedule is (finally) over, here are five takeaways from what we saw...

Injuries have added up

The Wizards entered this preseason with a lot of things to sort out in their rotation due to the significant roster overhaul they went through in the summer. But injuries complicated things further for head coach Scott Brooks, who wasn't offered anything close to a full cupboard to work with.

The most notable injuries were to Isaiah Thomas (thumb) and Troy Brown Jr. (calf). Both players will be key members of the rotation when they recover, but are each on track to miss the start of the regular season. The same goes for C.J. Miles, who has a foot injury. There is also Ian Mahinmi, who has an Achilles issue, though he is not likely to play a big role on the team this season.

Hachimura looks the part

The early returns on rookie Rui Hachimura have been good. The 2019 ninth overall pick has not looked timid or out of place on an NBA floor. He has shown he can attack the rim assertively and has even made a few threes. Those two areas will be key to watch for him this season; how he can adapt to NBA interior defenders and shooting threes from a longer distance.

Hachimura is a likely starter for the Wizards this season and should get ample shot opportunities. He is going to have a chance to be a focal point of the Wizards' offense and probably a long enough leash to play through his mistakes. As a young player, you can't ask for much more than that.

Also impressive this preseason were Moe Wagner, who was much better than he showed in the Las Vegas Summer League, and Thomas Bryant, who looks like he is going to take another step from his breakout season last year. Bryant is more confident knocking down threes and has been a force on the glass. Don't be surprised if he averages a double-double this season.

Small forward is a question

The Wizards had Brown penciled in to be their full-time starting small forward, according to a person familiar with their plans, but his injury is expected to keep him out to start the season. He did a post-practice workout the other day and wasn't moving very quickly, either due to discomfort in his calf or to be extra cautious in fear of a setback.

Either way, he is still rehabbing and so is Miles. The Wizards also released Justin Anderson, leaving them with no obvious choice to start at the three. At this point, it looks likely they will have to either put someone there that is probably best suited for another position like Hachimura, Davis Bertans or Jordan McRae, or roll with someone who is very inexperienced like Bonga or Admiral Schofield. The odds seem better they choose the former.

Final roster spot?

The Wizards now have to decide who gets their final roster spot. The safe money at this point is probably for point guard Justin Robinson and wing Jordan McRae to be the 14th and 15th players on the roster and for Chris Chiozza to have his contract converted to a two-way deal.

The Chiozza part has been speculated for weeks and it is the direction the team is leaning, NBC Sports Washington was told. If Chiozza did get the two-way contract, he could remain with the team to start the season and help fill the void at point guard while Thomas recovers from his left thumb surgery. Chiozza would have 45 days allotted at the NBA level, but that clock would not begin until Oct. 28 when G-League training camps open.

Beal's commitment

This season took on an entirely different tone with Thursday's news Bradley Beal would sign a contract extension with the Wizards. This year had the potential to be overshadowed by Beal's uncertain future, but now that has been put to rest. The trade rumors can be set aside as Beal has made it official his commitment to the Wizards' plan.

Now, that could get interesting late in the year if losses are piling up. He ultimately wants to win and it will bear watching how he shows his frustration if the team isn't playing up to his standards.

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Wizards and Mystics join Game Growers to help boost girls participation in sports

Wizards and Mystics join Game Growers to help boost girls participation in sports

The Washington Wizards and Mystics join in on Nike’s NBA and WNBA Game Growers program. The Game Growers program is meant to provide eighth grade girls with the skills and assets they need in order to grow their participation in sports in their communities. 

With this new program, the Wizards and Mystics can contribute to expanding the game of basketball for young DMV girls. Along with that, the Washington Mystics just won the WNBA Championships, this is perfect timing for them to introduce the sport to the next generation.

Today, the Game Growers Program officially was put into action, on a YouTube video stream. The video stream had Las Vegas Aces forward A’Ja Wilson, actress Sky Katz, the Director of Operations for the Women’s National Basketball Players Association Terri Jackson featuring in it. They discussed the advantages of being an athlete beyond going professional and encourage girls to apply.

In order for the future basketball stars to get in on the action, they must apply to GameGrowers.com by submitting their ideas on how to grow the game of basketball in their communities. The application opened today and will close on November 15, 2019. The winners will be made public in December 2019. 

By January 2020 two girls will join alongside the Wizards and Mystics in going to Training Camp at Nike’s World Headquarters in Washington County, Oregon. This event won’t only be run by Nike and professional basketball players, but will also have GENYOUth (a youth empowerment organization) tag along as well. At the Training Camp, the girls will have an opportunity to polish up their ideas with Nike and NBA and WNBA teams. 

If lucky, some Game Growers teams will be chosen to exhibit their ideas at the 2020 WNBA Draft, which will be in New York City this April. 

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