- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2017

A player who leads the NBA in steals and collects the most blocks of anyone at his position is a lock for All-Defensive honors, right?

The official panel of writers and broadcasters who cover the NBA isn’t so sure.

Wizards point guard John Wall did not make the All-Defensive first or second team chosen by the media.

The league revealed the results of voting in an official release Monday afternoon, and Wall’s name was found in the “Others players receiving votes” category — despite his league-leading 157 steals and 49 blocks. Both totals were tops among NBA point guards.

Wall, who was named to the All-NBA third team back in May, quickly reacted to the perceived snub, expressing his amusement (read: displeasure) in a tweet which simply read “LOL,” followed by a link to the rosters.

Two point guards made the All-Defensive roster ahead of Wall: Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets. Paul finished the regular season with 119 steals, fifteenth-most in the league, but only eight blocks. Meanwhile, Beverley failed to crack triple-digits in steals and blocked 25 shots, barely more than half of Wall’s number. And yet, Wall was on the outside looking in.

The lackluster defensive rankings of the Wizards as a whole likely contributed to Wall underperformance — at least in the eyes of the writers.

Washington finished in the bottom third of the league in many defensive statistics, including points allowed per game and opponent field goal percentage. Shooting guards Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies and Danny Green of the San Antonio, who took the two guard spots on the All-Defensive second team, each played on top-five ranked defensive teams.

Paul’s Clippers clearly had a superior defense compared to Wall’s Wizards, but Houston’s defense was basically the same as Washington. The Rockets allowed about two more points per game than the Wizards while holding opponents to a .463 field-goal percentage, only three percentage points better than Washington. 

Players around the league, as usual, second-guessed the media’s picks. Boston Celtics’ shooting guard Avery Bradley, a first team selection last year, was left off both the first and second teams, to the chagrin of teammate Isaiah Thomas and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns.

“How the hell is Avery Bradley not on the all defensive team?? That’s crazy!!” Thomas wrote on Twitter. Booker tweeting later, said “On the behalf of the players… he deserves it!”

Monday’s snub may well pay off for the Wizards next season: Wall’s rise to NBA stardom over seven years in the league has been fueled in part by the North Carolina native’s acute sense that his game is not given its proper due. 

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