The NBA announced the 2014 All-Star reserves Thursday, which included none other than Washington Wizards point guard John Wall. With an average of 19.8 points (#20), 4.4 rebounds, and 8.5 assists (#3), the fourth-year floor runner out of Kentucky will enjoy his first look at the marquee game.
"I am very proud to represent the Wizards franchise and the city of Washington as an All-Star and to share this honor with the fans who have supported me and stuck by me since I arrived here," said Wall, who is the first Wizards All-Star since Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were selected in 2008. "I also consider this as a recognition for my teammates and coaches who have worked extremely hard to improve our team and pushed me to become a better player."
Wall's second-year teammate, Bradley Beal, will also represent the Wizards during the 2014 All-Star Weekend. Beal will lace up for his second straight "Rising Stars Challenge," after helping "Team Chuck" defeat "Team Shaq" in 2013 on his way to 12 points off 5-for-10 shooting.
Other notable All-Star selections this year include Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Toronto Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan, two first-timers like Wall. Curry, a fifth-year guard, has been ripping things up in the Western Conference this season. He is averaging a career-high 24.0 points (#6) and dishing a career-high 9.1 assists (#1). DeRozan, likewise, has blossomed this year. The fifth-year Raptors forward is averaging a career-high 21.8 points and is averaging 3.6 assists.
For Curry, there's "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson. For DeRozan, there's dunk-machine Amir Johnson. Wall is growing with "kid brother" Beal, and while the Wizards have yet to lift themselves over .500 this season, Washington finally has a roster worthy of the conversation. With all the talk about "fire Ernie Grunfeld, fire Head Coach Randy Wittman," the team has persevered, dealt with injuries to Nene, Beal, Booker, Rice, Harrington, Ariza, and more. The important thing? They're still in the race. Here's to another competitive half, post All-Star break.
2014 All-Star Weekend will take place from Friday, February 14-Sunday, February 16, in attempt to complicate men's Valentine's Day plans everywhere. Luckily, the main act will fall safely on the 16th this year. But if things aren't working out Friday, find comfort in headliner Kevin Hart, who is set to play in his third Celebrity All-Star game. If there is anything to help after a heartbreak, it's to watch Hart play basketball.