Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal will participate in February’s All-Star weekend in New Orleans. It was announced last night that Wall earned his first ever All-Star bid as a reserve for the Eastern Conference team. Beal, on the other hand, did not make the All-Star roster (yet), but he will be playing in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, which features the best of the rookie and sophomore classes.
Wall, who many thought was snubbed out of earning the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference, joined Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert, DeMar DeRozan, Joe Johnson, Paul Millsap, and Joakim Noah, along with the starters announced last week, to represent the Eastern Conference.
Wall has been excellent this year. He is the driving force of why the Wizards are looking like a playoff team for the first time in years. He is currently averaging 19.8 points per game along with 8.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. Before the reserves were announced, I thought Wall was a near-lock to get picked by the coaches and would have been absolutely shocked if he was not, but you never know with these things. Some people think the coaches do not put too much effort into the players they pick (hard to blame them on that) and let’s face it, sometimes there is just too many deserving players. Luckily for Wall, the Wizards are in the Eastern Conference, but even guys in the Eastern Conference such as Kyle Lowry and Lance Stephenson were robbed of a chance to make their first All-Star game. The coaches made the right decision with Wall and he absolutely deserves it.
In his second season, Beal will face the rookie class in the Rising Stars Challenge. It may not be as big of a deal as the All-Star game, but it is still good national recognition for a player like Beal, who people never get to see on national television. Beal will have his chances throughout his career to make multiple All-Star teams alongside Wall. He is currently averaging 17.1 points per game on 42.2 percent from beyond the arc. His 42.2 percent from three is eighth best in the league of players who have attempted over 100 three-pointers on the year.
Which leads me to another possibility for Beal during All-Star Weekend. Could he be a participant in the 3-point contest? Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders is reporting that the six-man (three from the East and three from the West) field is set, except for a final Eastern Conference shooter. With Kyrie Irving and Kyle Korver already representing the East, Beal seems like he would be a popular candidate.
It is going to be a fun weekend for Wall and Beal, as well as Wizards fans, who have been adamant that Wizard players get slighted because of the lack of national exposure they receive. I really think the exposure is going to be the biggest thing for these up and coming stars during the weekend. The casual NBA fan will get a chance to see Wall as a blur from rim-to-rim and see Beal’s silky smooth jumpshot. Irving blew up nationally after dominating the Rising Stars Challenge last year and winning the 3-point contest. Wall could see similar national attention following a flashy All-Star appearance. Beal and Wall got some love from Inside the NBA’s Charles Barkley Thursday night, when he declared that the two, “are going to be the best backcourt in the basketball in five years.” It was a bold statement, but one that could ultimately end up being true. It was some of their first national television praise all season, but All-Star Weekend will change that.