Caps and Wiz bring Christmas to those in need
Although John Wall is fourth, the first returns of All-Star balloting look favorable for him. He's fourth among Eastern Conference backcourt players with 124,851 votes -- third among point guards -- in the fan polling.
However, Derrick Rose, who is out for at least the regular season after knee surgery, is one of the point guards at 272,410 votes. He won't be available. Kyrie Irving, who was a first-time All-Star last season and a more popular player who lit up the Wizards for 41 points earlier this season, is the other with 365,712. Irving is a scorer first and a distributor second, the opposite of Wall, which puts him in the driver's seat.
The next closest point guards to Wall are Rajon Rondo, who has yet to play after knee surgery, at sixth (80,889) and Deron Williams, who recently returned from injury, seventh (44,282).
Bradley Beal appeared to be a possible candidate but his right fibula stress injury, which put him on the shelf two weeks ago, has likely ruined his chances -- unless he comes back soon and catches fire quickly.
LeBron James leads everyone with 609,336 votes while Kevin Durant is a close second at 607,407.
Balloting closes Jan. 20 and the starters will be announced three days later on TNT at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be played in New Orleans on Feb. 16.
If Wall doesn't qualify via the popular vote -- Kobe Bryant, who has played just two games going into Thursday night coming off Achilles surgery and is inexplicably No. 1 in the Western Conference in voting among backcourt players -- he can get selected as a reserve by a more rational vote among league coaches and executives.
Wall is averaging 19.6 points, 9.1 assists and 4.4. rebounds.