Sports

Wizards Top 3 in East, Wall Among Best PGs, NBA Execs Say

NBA.com released its annual GM survey Wednesday and the Golden State Warriors are near-unanimous favorites to win a second consecutive title this upcoming season.

After the Warriors went 16-1 in last season’s playoffs, 93 percent of the league’s general managers believe the championship title will return to Oakland.

For Wizards fans, 3 percent of the GM’s believe Washington Wizards and four-time All-Star John Wall serves as the best point guard in the league. Wall came in fourth behind Chris Paul (7 percent), Russell Westbrook (28 percent) and Stephen Curry (62 percent).

In addition, 72 percent rank the Wizards as one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. Last season’s survey had the team tied as the seventh-best with the Charlotte Hornets.

Wall acknowledged decision-makers are now showing the Wizards respect.

“It’s great,” he said. “We are a team that’s not going to fly under the radar. It’s a lot of pressure on us, but at the same time we put the pressure because we want to go further than we did last year. It’s great to get the recognition, but if you don’t back it up it doesn’t mean anything.”

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said the league recognizes his team’s talent.

“I think people know we have a good basketball team,” he said. “John is a heck of a player. I’ve said after last season, he’s in the conversation of MVP if he continues to improve like he did last year.”

Brooks added, “You still have to go out there and compete. We definitely have a good team, but we have to go out there and show it every night.”

Meanwhile, the NBA also announced a change Tuesday in the All-Star Game format.

Instead of the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference, the top vote-getter chosen by the fans from each conference will be team captain and choose from the other All-Stars chosen.

For instance, perennial All-Stars Kevin Durant and LeBron James could play on the same team. The 67th annual contest will be played in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.

Brooks called the new All-Star set-up “cool” and an old-school version of “skins and shirts.”

Wall said that, depending on who’s captain, certain players may get picked based on whether a player likes someone.

“If it works how [NBA officials] think it should, then I think it will be fun,” he said. “It’ll be a lot more excitement and more competitive.”

To view the results of the survey, go to http://www.nba.com/gmsurvey/2017#.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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