Wizards’ John Wall named to first all-star team

Washington Wizards' John Wall takes aim at a foul shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Phoenix. The Wizards defeated the Suns 101-95. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) John Wall will be making his first NBA all-star appearance.  (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

John Wall has named been an Eastern Conference reserve for the 63rd NBA all-star game on Feb. 16 in New Orleans, the league announced Thursday night.

Wall becomes the first Wizards’ representative in the league’s annual talent showcase since Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler in 2008, when the game was last played in New Orleans.

Since being taken No. 1 overall in 2010, Wall has had to survive an arduous journey that has included injury and a difficult rebuilding effort. Despite those early struggles, the Wizards and Wall agreed to a five-year, $80 million extension last summer and he has repaid the franchise’s commitment with the finest campaign of his career.

Wall was overlooked in fan balloting for the starters, finishing a distant third behind Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving, but he has been arguably the best point guard in the Eastern Conference this season.

He leads all point guards in the East in assists (8.5), rebounds (4.4) and double-doubles (16), ranks second in scoring (19.8) and steals (1.9) and third in player efficiency rating (19.9). More importantly, Wall also has led the Wizards to the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 22-23.

“I think he worked extremely hard this offseason, and it’s paying off. He’s been the best point guard in the East and this is a very well deserved honor. It’s special when you get voted in by the coaches because the coaches really know who’s doing what to help their teams win,” Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld said. “One of the best things about John is his competitive nature. He wants to be really good. He wants to continue to improve and above everything else, he wants to win. When you’re the No. 1 pick, a lot of pressure comes with that, and John has handled it extremely well.”

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.



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Michael Lee · January 30, 2014

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