John Wall has yearned for more recognition.
He tracks what is said on social media and written on the Internet, even when authored by wayward sources he should ignore. During this past season, his best in the NBA, Wall even lamented “no-name” players receiving foul calls he thought he — a four-time All-Star — deserved but did not receive.
Thursday afternoon, Wall received a bump in recognition. He was named third-team All-NBA by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who vote for the positions. Wall is one of just six guards in the league to be selected for one of the three teams.
“It is a great honor to be named to the All-NBA team for the first time,” Wall said in a statement. “Although this is an individual award, I consider it to be a team accomplishment and a reflection of the success and improvement we had this season. I wouldn’t be in this position without the hard work that my teammates and coaching staff put in on a daily basis and without the constant support and love from my family. On behalf of the team, I would also like to thank our amazing fans for being there for us all season — we all look forward to reaching new levels together for years to come.”
The last four words of his statement are not telling, but do prompt thought about how many more years Wall will be doing this work in Washington. He has two years remaining on his contract. He thinks he has now reached a position of being underpaid thanks to the rise in the league’s salary cap. Wall last signed a then-maximum five-year, $84,789,500 contract in 2013. Currently, he is the 47th-highest paid player in the league based on average salary. He can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Being named to an All-NBA team has a distant chance to change that. Wall now qualifies for a “designated player veteran extension,” which is a new feature added by the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. Since Wall was drafted by the Wizards, is heading into his eighth season, and has made an All-NBA team, he can receive a four-year maximum extension
at 35 percent of the salary cap beginning in the 2019-20 season. Signing such an extension this summer would allow Wall to start cashing in a year earlier than if he waits to enter unrestricted free agency. Should he wait, it does not rule out the option — with added caveats — later.
“I know all about those [options],” Wall said Tuesday. “I haven’t talked to my agents and stuff like that. I don’t know if I have to talk about an extension and all that because so much more you can get later down the road and what’s at stake. I just sit back with my family, my team and see what we want to talk about and see if there’s anything to discuss this summer or just wait.”
Wall is in such a position because of his best season. Wall became the first player in league history to average at least 20 points, four rebounds, two steals and 0.5 blocks per game. He averaged career highs in scoring (23.1), field goal percentage (.451), assists (10.7) and steals (2.0). Wall joined James Harden and Russell Westbrook as the only players to average a point/assist double-double during the regular season. Both Harden and Westbrook were named first-team All-NBA and are among the leading MVP candidates this season.
Wall is the fourth player in franchise history to earn All-NBA third-team honors (joining Bernard King, Juwan Howard and Gilbert Arenas) and the 13th to earn All-NBA accolades overall. The last Wizards player named to the All-NBA Third Team was Arenas in 2005-06.
Wall had the third-most double-doubles (50) among NBA guards and had the third-most games (49) with 10 or more assists. He also led the Eastern Conference in assists (831) for a fourth consecutive season, becoming one of three players to do so in league history (Isiah Thomas from 1980-86; Rajon Rondo from 2008-12).
Boston’s Isaiah Thomas and Golden State’s Steph Curry were the guards named to the second team. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan joined Wall as the other guard on the third team.
There was significant gap in voting for Thomas and Wall. Thomas received 236 total points in a 5-3-1 system. Wall received 125. He received no first-team votes, 19 second-team votes and 68 third-team votes. Thomas received 71 second-team votes and 23-third team votes from the 100-member voting panel.
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