The Washington Post

Wizards’ John Wall, Bradley Beal undecided on all-star weekend events

Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) goes for the dunk past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 96-81. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) I could definitely do this. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

John Wall and Bradley Beal have both been invited to participate in competitions during all-star weekend but might have to pass because of respective injuries.

After the Wizards’ surprising 96-81 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Wall revealed that soreness in his heel could prevent him from participating in either the Slam Dunk contest or the Skills Challenge.

Wall is leaning toward entering the slam dunk contest and plans to make up his mind by Monday. He could be swayed to show off his dunking skills if more big name players participate, but he also doesn’t want to risk embarrassment if his heel prevents him from getting the necessary lift on his jams.

Three years ago, Wall finished fourth in the Skills Challenge – an obstacle course of dribbling, passing and shooting – behind Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. That year, Wall also assisted JaVale McGee when the former Wizards center entered the Guinness Book of world records for dunking three basketballs.

Wall has already pulled off one of the most spectacular dunks of the regular season, converting a 360-degree slam against the Los Angeles Lakers in November. He has also perfected a ridiculous dunk in which he whirls the ball behind-the-back along his waist, switching from his left hand to right hand before throwing down a dunk.

The prospect of raising his profile in the contest intrigues Wall but he might have to lean toward the skills competition since it would probably spare him from putting more pressure on his feet.

Beal has been asked to participate in the Three-Point Shootout but also expects to make a decision by Monday. He is tied for 18th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 41.3 and is leaning toward giving it a go, but admitted that the decision isn’t entirely up to him as he continues to recover from a stress injury in his right fibula. He said it will come down to “me wanting to do it and two, what the doc says.”

Beal has been selected for the Rising Star challenge for the second year in a row and stated that concern over his leg could prevent him from participating in the exhibition featuring the best rookies and second-year players. His chances of being in both events appear to be improving. For the first time since he returned from his injury, Beal had his 30-minute time limit lifted when the Wizards played Oklahoma City.

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



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Michael Lee · February 2, 2014