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Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld on how John Wall's game will age and develop over the course of his contract

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Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld on how John Wall's game will age and develop over the course of his contract

Often times in the NBA long-term contracts are as much about paying a guy for the player he is someday going to be as they are paying what that player is worth at the moment. It's a futures game and front offices are tasked with projecting what players will become over the course of three, four and five years.

In John Wall, the Wizards have a firmly established star who turns 27 this week. He's a safe bet with four All-Star appearances already to his name.

That said, his recently signed four-year, $170 million extension will keep him in Washington through at least his Age 31 season. The final year of his deal, his Age 32 season, includes a player option.

In brokering this deal, the Wizards had to project how Wall's game will develop over the course of the next five or six years. That's a long time, but as team president Ernie Grunfeld explained in detail, they feel very comfortable about Wall's future.

"Thirty is still very young in the NBA nowadays. But we’ve seen John grow every single year. He’s improved every year he’s been in the league. The last four years he’s been an All-Star. This past year he was an elite-level player making the All-NBA team. He’s improved his shooting, he’s improved his knowledge of the game. The game has really slowed down for him. His first two or three years he was just up and down the floor trying to get to the basket and get layups. Now he reads the floor and he reads the situations and makes the right plays at the right times," Grunfeld said.

[RELATED: BROOKS WANTS WIZARDS TO EMBRACE EXPECTATIONS]

"John is one of the rare players, I can’t even think of two or three others besides maybe LeBron [James], who makes players around him better. That’s very hard to find. John is a true pass-first point guard. The way the league is changing now, the point guard position is obvously the most important position. It’s like quarterbacks in football. It’s really more scoring point guards who can also get assists and get their teammates involved. I think John’s primary goal is to get that assist, to look to help a teammate. And then when he needs to score, he can also score, as he’s shown."

Grunfeld drafted Wall in 2010 with the first overall pick and has seen him mature on and off the court. This past season was his best, as he put up career-highs of 23.1 points, 10.7 assists, 2.0 steals and a 45.1 field goal percentage. Grunfeld insists there is another level or two Wall can reach and the Wizards are confident he will get there.

"He’s improved his three-point shooting. I think he was working on it very hard to continue to improve it. [Coach Scott Brooks] has said now he’s going to be working on his defense a little bit also and see if he can improve in that area. At his age, he hasn’t reached his peak yet," Grunfeld said. "That’s the good situation about our team right now. Now we have stability, we have continuity with three very young players who are not even close to reaching their prime yet."

Grunfeld was referring, of course, to Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, two 24-year-olds who signed contract extensions of their own in the past 13 months. The Wizards are banking on their core three to continue growing together. They have done their best to project the future and like what they see.

[RELATED: CAN WALL FOLLOW THROUGH ON KOBE'S CHALLENGE?]

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VIDEO: Wizards' win over Nuggets includes Nikola Jokic bumping coach Scott Brooks

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VIDEO: Wizards' win over Nuggets includes Nikola Jokic bumping coach Scott Brooks

So, this is a weird way to end a basketball game.

The Wizards were up just two points on the Denver Nuggets with :32 seconds left on Monday night when talented third-year center Nikola Jokic made a mistake that may have cost Denver a win. During a timeout, Jokic bumped shoulders with Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. Brooks was immediately incensed and Jokic was awarded a technical.

It was a bizarre moment. Watch it here:

Bradley Beal hit the technical free throw, then sank a layup on the next possession. Jokic made dumb mistake, whether it was intentional or not, and the Wizards capitalized in a 109-104 win.

[RELATED: WALL EXPLAINS WOLF SEASON, ITS CONNECTION TO MICHAEL JACKSON]

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Wizards stay unbeaten, take out Nuggets to begin road trip

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Wizards stay unbeaten, take out Nuggets to begin road trip

The Washington Wizards beat the Denver Nuggets 109-104 on Monday night at the Pepsi Center. Here's analysis of what went down.

Jokic bumped Brooks: A strange moment happened in the final minute that helped change the course of this game. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic bumped Wizards head coach Scott Brooks during a timeout, earning a technical foul with :32 seconds left. The Wizards were up just two points, but Bradley Beal hit a free throw and then a layup on the ensuing possession to give the Wizards a five-point lead and essentially seal the win.

Here is the play. It's not something you see very often:

Porter may be taking another leap: Otto Porter (17 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) was a standout in the first two games because of his hot starts and that continued on Monday. Porter came out rolling with 12 points in his first 15 minutes. He made it look easy with his midrange game, consistently knocking down 15 to 20 foot jumpers. 

Porter clearly looks more assertive and confident, showing no hesitation particularly early in games. The Wizards saw John Wall and Bradley Beal quickly get much better after signing their max deals and Porter looks intent on following their lead. If he can achieve consistency in dropping 15+ points per game while doing all the things he already does, the Wizards could reach new heights.

Backup point guard a positive: Yeah, you read that right. For as much trouble as the Wizards have had solving the backup point guard position, all was right on Monday night. Tim Frazier had easily his best game since joining the Wizards after going scoreless in his first two outings. His first made shot as a member of the Wizards was a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter from about 35 feet out.

Frazier lit a spark with 10 points, so did Tomas Satoransky. After not playing in the Wizards' first two games, he checked in late in the second quarter and immediately hit a hook shot and a three. Satoransky is on the outside of the rotation looking in, but he made the most of a brief opportunity on this particular night.

Those two guys helped buoy Wall (19 points, 12 assists) and Beal (20 points, five rebounds). Any time pressure can be taken off of them is a good thing.

Jokic is legitimate: We don't see much of Nuggets center Jokic on the East Coast and he didn't score a single point in his last game before playing the Wizards, but on Monday Jokic showed that he is the real deal. The guy came out swinging with 12 points on 5-for-5 from the field in his first eight minutes. By halftime he had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. There are so many good, young big men these days that Jokic gets overlooked, but he does just about everything well. Jokic finished with 29 points in 35 minutes.

Smith still out: Jason Smith didn't play in this one as he missed his second straight game with a sprained right shoulder. Considering Markieff Morris (sports hernia surgery) is also out, meaning the Wizards are missing both of their power forwards, this undefeated start is no small feat. The Wizards are 3-0 for the fourth time in team history and the first time since 2005. The other two times they did so were the 1978-79 season and the 1974-75 season. Both of those years they lost in the NBA Finals.

Up next: The Wizards move on to Los Angeles to play the Lakers at the Staples Center. That means Wall vs. Lonzo Ball. The game tips at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: WOLF SEASON HAS MICHAEL JACKSON CONNECTION]