This season has been an unmitigated disappointment thus far for the Washington Wizards, but they remain in playoff contention with 39 games remaining thanks in large part to John Wall’s improved play since Dec. 1. And the NBA’s coaches have rewarded the point guard for the effort by voting him onto the Eastern Conference all-star team as a reserve, the league announced Thursday evening.
It will be the third all-star appearance – and third straight — for the 25-year-old Wall, who was voted in as a starter last season. He is the first Wizard to earn three all-star nods since Gilbert Arenas in 2005, 2006, and 2007. The exhibition will be played on Feb. 14 in Toronto.
“I’m honored to be able to represent the Wizards organization, my coaches and teammates and our fans for a third time at All-Star Weekend,” Wall said. “I’m looking forward to enjoying the festivities in Toronto, but my main focus will continue to be getting our team ready for a playoff push both before and after the break.”
Usually surrounded by a shorthanded supporting cast, Wall is averaging a career-high 19.6 points, 9.9 assists, and 2.1 steals while playing in all 42 games this season entering Washington’s meeting with the Denver Nuggets Thursday.
“What he’s done to keep us afloat through all this and his growth as a player, I think that’s the main thing,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said before Thursday’s game “When you look at guys that have made the all-star team, what are they doing with their games as they move on? And I think we’ve seen John learn know when he has to score and when he needs to get the ball moving from a point guard situation. That’s been important. So through everything we’ve had from an injury standpoint, he’s been our one guy that’s been constant. I think that deserves, without a question, a spot. ”
After a disastrous November — in which he averaged 14.5 points on 36.9 percent shooting, 7.8 assists and 4.2 turnovers in 11 games — Wall was named the Eastern Conference player of the month for December and player of the week earlier this month. Since Dec. 1, he is averaging 21.3 points on 44.4 shooting, 10.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 4.4 turnovers in 29 games, and he’s shooting 37 percent from three-point range.
Wall joins Jimmy Butler, Isaiah Thomas, DeMar DeRozan, Chris Bosh, Andre Drummond, and Paul Millsap as East reserves. Kyle Lowry, Dwyane Wade, Paul George, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony as the East starters.