This year at NBA All-Star Weekend, the Rookies vs. Sophomore Game has been scrapped and instead a Rising Stars Challenge Game will take place, in which a mix of rookies and sophomores were drafted from a pool of participants to match up against each other. TNT aired a draft for this game, in which Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkely drafted the two teams. Washington Wizards second-year point guard John Wall was selected by Team Barkley, but not until 11 players were chosen before him. This late-draft selection has not sat well with Wall:
Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
"It's a joke to me," said Wall, who is averaging 16.9 points and 7.5 assists in his second season. "If they think there are 11 guys better than me, then that's their decision. But I know what I think in my mind and all I can do is go out there and play basketball the way I know how to play."
Hopefully, Wall will take this perceived slight in an all-star game event and use it as motivation for a strong second half performance, on a Wizards team that desperately needs it. After an inconsistent start to the season, Wall has begun to excel in the past 20 Washington games, averaging 19.2 points, 8.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game. Head coach Randy Wittman will need this to continue for the Wizards to have any chance on most nights, and if Wall wishes to uses his Rising Star "snub" as a motivating factor to improve his all-around regular-season game, I am all for it.
Stay tuned to SB Nation DC for more updates on the 2012 NBA All-Star Game and Rising Stars Game. For all news and information regarding the Washington Wizards, please visit Bullets Forever. And don't forget to visit SB Nation's NBA hub for news and notes from around the league.