How the New NBA All-Star Voting Rules May Save John Wall | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

How the New NBA All-Star Voting Rules May Save John Wall

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Updated: December 29, 2016

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It’s crazy, but John Wall’s spot on the 2016-17 All-Star team is not guaranteed. For anyone who has watched Wall’s brilliant play this season, the notion that he is not among the top back-court players in the Eastern Conference is patently absurd.

But here’s the problem: the universe of people who have actually watched Wall play this season is depressingly small.

So small, in fact, that ESPN has taken notice and removed Washington’s January 11 game against Boston from its broadcast schedule in favor of a game between small market teams in Oklahoma City and Memphis. John Wall said it best: “If you don’t have League Pass or NBA TV, you don’t see the Wizards.”

The lack of national exposure has real-world consequences in the fake-world of picking All-Star teams.

Case in point: Boston Celtics reporter and twitter-verified NBA writer Michael Pina recently published his proposed All-Star roster for Vice Sports, along with a list of the biggest snubs. Headlining the All-Snub Team … none other than John Wall. The following five guards made Pina’s hypothetical All-Star Team ahead of Wall: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Kemba Walker, Isaiah Thomas, and Kyrie Irving.

Lest you think Pina is an outlier, he is not. NBA.com asked nine of the most high-profile national writers to list their All-Star starters. None selected Wall. And only two even mentioned him in their notes.

I know what you are thinking: Just because no one named him a starter doesn’t mean he won’t be a reserve.

While you are technically correct, there is a troubling trend in the nine-writer survey. It’s not as if all nine writers chose the same starting back-court. Five different guards made at least one of the nine teams: DeRozan (7), Kyrie (5), Kemba (3), Thomas (1) and Lowry (1).

That puts these national NBA writers squarely in line with Pina’s projections.

Here’s where the new NBA All-Star voting rules might help Wall. For the first time, the All-Star starters will not be selected exclusively by the fans. Instead, fans will account for 50 percent of the vote, and NBA players and media will count for 25 percent each.

This change is huge for Wall for one very big reason: his name is Dwyane Wade.

Wade has been selected by the fans as a starter for 10 of the past 11 years. His only absence was the 2014-15 season when he missed 17 games before All-Star weekend and lost to Lowry by fewer than 16,000 votes – coincidentally, that was the year Wall was voted as a starter.

The new voting structure almost certainly prevents fans from continuing the annual tradition of gifting a starting spot to an undeserving veteran – in this case, Wade. This is a huge boost for Wall’s chances. The only thing harder than fighting five other guards for an All-Star roster spot is having one of those precious spots thrown away on a declining superstar who would not otherwise make the team.

It’s like the Eastern Conference guards are in a high-stakes game of musical chairs and the NBA just added another seat.

Just Win Baby.

There is another way Wall can significantly increase his chances of making his fourth All-Star appearance: Keep winning. The case for Kemba Walker over Wall is based purely on the Charlotte Hornets position atop the Wizards in the Eastern Conference. Just listen to NBA.com writer Fran Blinebury’s reasoning for Kemba’s selection in his piece on deserving first-time All-Stars:

His 22.3 points per game is a career best and goes along with averages of 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals. Walker has worked hard through five NBA seasons to become a better shooter and is now at a career-best clip of 45.4 FG percentage and 41.1 on 3-pointers. He is unquestionably the leader of the team with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference and he should get the nod over Boston’s Isaiah Thomas based on defense and because John Wall can’t ever seem to lift the Wizards out of mediocrity.

Those numbers are nice, but Wall is playing on a whole different level while carrying a much bigger weight on his shoulders. The only stat that skews in Kemba’s favor is the Hornets record: 18-14. The All-Star reserves are selected by NBA coaches and when it comes time to cast their votes, Wall will be considerably more attractive if Washington’s record places them firmly in the playoff picture.

Hopefully that’s the case. Because it would be a shame if Wall’s brilliant season continues to be ignored on the national stage.


 

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.