In his fourth season, John Wall has taken twice as long as Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers to be a first-time All-Star, but both appear to be on the same page. Monday, they'll face one another on the same court at Verizon Center (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
The pair, both of whom have the same athletic wear endorsements, was supposed to work out last summer with Gary Payton, a Hall of Fame point guard who starred for the then-Seattle SuperSonics and won an NBA title with the Miami Heat.
They couldn't coordinate their schedules, but Wall believes they can figure something out this time.
"It definitely will (happen) this summer. Last summer was so busy for me, with us being with Adidas," said Wall, who went to China on a promotional trip. "The way the season is going for both of us it'll probably be even busier this summer and we'll be on the same trips again. Hopefully, we can find an opportunity to get out there and learn some things from him."
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Even though Wall had to be voted as a reserve for the East, he has been the best point guard in the conference. Lillard was chosen as a reserve point guard in the West. Both have been invited to participate in the slam-dunk contest All-Star Weekend Feb. 14-16. Both have been asked to participate in the skills competition, too, which Lillard won last year.
Monday, Wall insists it will not be an individual matchup. He fell into that trap against Phil Pressey of the Boston Celtics earlier this month, when the Wizards lost 113-111 in overtime to a team that had lost 11 of 12 games at that point. Wall took 29 shots, 13 more than Bradley Beal, admitting he erred in trying to take over the game rather than get his teammates involved first. Since that time, Wall has paid more attention to details on defense.
"Kind of like Steph Curry, you got to go over screens because they both have unlimited range," Wall said about Lillard, comparing him to the Golden State Warriors' All-Star point guard. "I just try to make it tough. Try to make him get to the basket and finish over those (big) guys and trust our help. I'll take it on as a challenge and I'm not going to make it a one-on-one battle."