Wall misses out on All-NBA de­fen­sive team honors

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY JOSHUA LUCKENBAUGH

A player who leads the NBA in steals and col­lects the most blocks of any­one at his po­si­tion is a lock for All-De­fen­sive honors, right?

The of­fi­cial panel of writ­ers and broad­cast­ers who cover the NBA isn’t so sure.

Wiz­ards point guard John Wall did not make the All-De­fen­sive first or sec­ond team cho­sen by the me­dia.

The league re­vealed the re­sults of vot­ing in an of­fi­cial re­lease Mon­day af­ter­noon, and Wall’s name was found in the “Oth­ers play­ers re­ceiv­ing votes” cat­e­gory — de­spite his league-lead­ing 157 steals and 49 blocks. Both to­tals were tops among NBA point guards.

Wall, who was named to the All-NBA third team back in May, quickly re­acted to the per­ceived snub, ex­press­ing his amuse­ment (read: dis­plea­sure) in a tweet which sim­ply read “LOL,” fol­lowed by a link to the ros­ters.

Two point guards made the All-De­fen­sive ros­ter ahead of Wall: Chris Paul of the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers and Pa­trick Bev­er­ley of the Hous­ton Rockets. Paul fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son with 119 steals, fif­teenth-most in the league, but only eight blocks. Mean­while, Bev­er­ley failed to crack triple-dig­its in steals and blocked 25 shots, barely more than half of Wall’s num­ber. And yet, Wall was on the out­side look­ing in.

The lack­lus­ter de­fen­sive rank­ings of the Wiz­ards as a whole likely con­trib­uted to Wall un­der­per­for­mance — at least in the eyes of the writ­ers.

Wash­ing­ton fin­ished in the bot­tom third of the league in many de­fen­sive statis­tics, in­clud­ing points al­lowed per game and op­po­nent field goal per­cent­age. Shoot­ing guards Tony Allen of the Mem­phis Griz­zlies and Danny Green of the San An­to­nio, who took the two guard spots on the All-De­fen­sive sec­ond team, each played on top-five ranked de­fen­sive teams.

Paul’s Clip­pers clearly had a su­pe­rior de­fense com­pared to Wall’s Wiz­ards, but Hous­ton’s de­fense was ba­si­cally the same as Wash­ing­ton. The Rockets al­lowed about two more points per game than the Wiz­ards while hold­ing op­po­nents to a .463 field-goal per­cent­age, only three per­cent­age points bet­ter than Wash­ing­ton.

Play­ers around the league, as usual, sec­ond-guessed the me­dia’s picks. Bos­ton Celtics’ shoot­ing guard Avery Bradley, a first team se­lec­tion last year, was left off both the first and sec­ond teams, to the cha­grin of team­mate Isa­iah Thomas and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns.

“How the hell is Avery Bradley not on the all de­fen­sive team?? That’s crazy!!” Thomas wrote on Twit­ter. Booker tweet­ing later, said “On the be­half of the play­ers... he deserves it!”

Mon­day’s snub may well pay off for the Wiz­ards next sea­son: Wall’s rise to NBA star­dom over seven years in the league has been fueled in part by the North Carolina na­tive’s acute sense that his game is not given its proper due.

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