The Wizards' playoff chances were the first casualty wrought from John Wall's left patella stress injury, with the team foundering in his absence to a 5-28 start. The second casualty – which Wall knew would occur the moment the injury was discovered – became official on Thursday, when Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday and Cleveland's Kyrie Irving were both selected as Eastern Conference all-star reserves.

With Derrick Rose recovering from a torn ACL, Olympian Deron Williams foundering in the rubble of the Brooklyn Nets early struggles under former coach Avery Johnson and Joe Johnson also not having the same affect in Brooklyn as he had in Atlanta, there was an opening for some new backcourt talent to emerge and assume those slots.

Holiday and Irving were both considered Wall's peers and primary young rivals last summer, when the trio was selected to train in Las Vegas with Team USA for the select team. As Wall recovered and rehabilitated for more than three months, Holiday and Irving cashed in on the experience while elevating their games – if not their teams – and their names. No matter what happens to their careers after this season, Holiday and Irving will always be recognized as all-star talents. Wall will have to hurdle a few more obstacles to get there.

Irving, the reigning rookie of the year and the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, is the only player in the East averaging at least 20 points and five assists but the Cavaliers having only two more wins than the Wizards.