Barring a major surprise, the Washington Wizards won't be prominently featured during the 2013 NBA All-Star Game weekend. Bradley Beal will certainly be a part of the Rookie/Sophomore game (wonder where he'll get drafted?) and ... that's probably it. No all-stars, no folks in any of the Saturday night contests.
I'm not going to bother trying to vouch for any other Wizards to be a part of the festivities, unlike our colleagues here. Instead, I want to jump into an alternate reality to consider this question: what would it have taken for a fully-healthy John Wall to be an all-star this season?
Let's assume for a second that the entire NBA season played out the same way, save for Wall being healthy. Some considerations to keep in mind:
The Wizards would surely be a better team
How much better? That's difficult to figure out. For the sake of this discussion, let's say that the upgrade from A.J. Price to Wall gives the Wizards six wins, putting them at 15-24 instead of 9-30. That would wedge the Wizards somewhere between the Pistons, Raptors, 76ers and Magic and still comfortably out of the playoffs. Nevertheless, they would not be a laughingstock.
There aren't many great all-star guard candidates in the East
Look around the conference, and who really deserves an all-star bid?
- Derrick Rose is injured.
- Deron Williams has been a huge disappointment this year.
- Joe Johnson has been better recently, but he got off to a bad start.
- Kyrie Irving is spectacular, but he missed a month, and the Cavaliers stink.
- Jrue Holiday has made a nice jump, but is he good enough to be an all-star under normal circumstances?
- Brandon Jennings has played well but not significantly better than in any other year where he missed the team.
- Kyle Lowry has great numbers but he's a backup and has missed time. He gets no consideration.
- Monta Ellis is still Monta Ellis.
- Kemba Walker has been better but the Bobcats still stink.
- Paul George could be classified as a guard, but he's played mostly small forward this year.
With some improvement from last year, Wall could have easily cracked that discussion.
How much better would Wall have needed to be?
Let's take a look at how Wall's numbers last year stack up to those players' numbers this season.
|Player||Pts/36||PER||TS%||AST%||TO%||Team winning %|
|WALL LAST YEAR||16.2||17.7||50.2||36.9||19.2||30.3%|
Two of those players will make the all-star team. Irving looks like a shoo-in based on those numbers -- he's so far ahead of everyone else that it'd be foolish to argue that he doesn't belong.
That leaves one spot for everyone else, with the top candidates appearing to be Holiday, Williams and maybe Walker or Jennings. All four players have better PERs, true shooting percentages and lower turnover rates than Wall did last year, but not by an incredible amount.
Holiday is the consensus favorite of the group, and here are how his current numbers compare to Wall's as a sophomore:
- Points/36 minutes: +1.7
- PER: +1.1
- PER: +2
- TS%: +2
- AST%: +4.6
- TO%: +1.2
- Winning percentage: +10.1. However, remember that Wall's presence all year would have improved Washington's record.
All of those numbers are better than Wall's from last year, but by how much? Given natural progression and better teammates, couldn't Wall have approached Holiday's level pretty easily if he stayed healthy? I guess that's a question for you all to think about, but I think it's certainly possible.
My sense, then, is that a healthy Wall would have at least been in the conversation for the final guard spot in the East. Maybe he would have lost out to other candidates, but it doesn't seem like much improvement was needed to make the squad this year. Some, yes, but it's not like Wall needed to become a fundamentally different player to be in the coversation.
What do you think? Would Wall have received All-Star consideration if he was healthy all year?