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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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Wizards' offense stumbles without John Wall in loss to Raptors

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Wizards' offense stumbles without John Wall in loss to Raptors

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 100-91 on Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre. Here's analysis of what went down...

Not enough: The Wizards pulled off the upset earlier this month in Toronto when they were without star guard John Wall. On Sunday, there weren't as fortunate.

This time Kyle Lowry didn't get ejected in the first half and this time DeMar DeRozan (33 points, 15-for-26 FG) had a good shooting night. Bradley Beal (27 points) stepped up, but had five turnovers and didn't get much help from his teammates.

Otto Porter was held to 15 points and six rebounds. Those are decent numbers, but they needed more with Wall out. Markieff Morris had only three points on 1-for-10 shooting. Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) played well, to be fair.

The Wizards have now lost two straight games and sit 9-7 on the season. Without Wall, the Wizards were the underdogs but they were only down three to begin the fourth quarter. They were outscored 21-15 in the final frame.

The Raptors snapped the Wizards' streak of holding opponents to under 100 points at five games on a DeRozan dunk with just 54.7 seconds left.

Wall out, may miss Monday: The Wizards held Wall out due his swollen left knee and it could keep him out against the Bucks on Monday. That's what head coach Scott Brooks told reporters in Toronto before the game. The Wizards proved on Sunday they can still compete against good teams without Wall, but the road won't get any easier. 

The Bucks have a very good backcourt with Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton. After dealing with Kyle Lowry in this one, Tim Frazier will have to keep up with Bledsoe if Wall isn't available.

Frazier and Tomas Satoransky filled the void on Sunday with Wall out and produced mixed results. Frazier put up some solid numbers with six rebounds and eight assists, but had four turnovers, including a badly timed one with 2:10 left when he dribbled off his knee and out of bounds. Satoransky also had three turnovers, but managed four points, three rebounds and two steals in 12 minutes. His best moments were on defense.

The Wizards' offense overall just couldn't get going without Wall running the show. They shot 42 percent despite going 11-for-19 (57.9%) from three. Their 11-for-19 (57.3%) mark from the free throw line didn't help.

[RELATED: TIMING IS RIGHT FOR NBA TO END ONE-AND-DONE RULE]

Perimeter defense: Here's a positive for the Wizards. The Raptors entered this game tied for 10th in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (10.9) and they chucked up a lot of attempts from long range. The Raptors hit 10 threes, but the Wizards deserve credit for holding them to 26.3 percent at 10-for-38 overall.

Three-point defense has been a big point of emphasis for the Wizards since Brooks took over. Last year they were 20th in opponents three-point percentage. They were eighth in the NBA coming into Sunday's game, a major improvement. 

The personnel is there for them to defend the perimeter well, even without Wall. Beal, Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. are all young, quick and long. So far this season they have been putting those skills to good use.

Injury scare for Keef: Markieff Morris took a hard shot to his nose in the first quarter on a loose ball play. Morris dove to the ground trying to get possession and his face slammed straight into the leg of Jonas Valanciunas. Morris would return in the second quarter and quickly hit a three.

Here's the replay of Morris' collision:

Ouch.

Up next: The Wizards head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Monday night. It will be their first back-to-back set of the season. They are the last team to have one. Tipoff is a 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS]

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John Wall out against Toronto Raptors with swollen knee

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John Wall out against Toronto Raptors with swollen knee

For the second time this season the Wizards will be playing at the Toronto Raptors without star point guard John Wall.

Wall is sitting out this time due to a swollen left knee, head coach Scott Brooks announced on Sunday afternoon. Wall was limited in the Wizards' loss to the Heat on Friday night and said fluid had built up in his knee after he received IVs the previous weekend. 

The Wizards were able to beat the Raptors on the road on Nov. 5 without Wall. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was ejected from that game in the second quarter.

Without Wall, the Wizards will rely on backup point guards Tim Frazier and Tomas Satoransky. They could also use shooting guard Bradley Beal and small forward Otto Porter to run the offense. Kelly Oubre, Jr. could be used on the defensive end to check Lowry.

The Wizards are 2-3 without Wall dating back to last season. This year he is averaging 19.9 points and 9.3 assists per game this season.

The Wizards play the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday in a back-to-back set. Wall could miss that game as well, according to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller.

[RELATED: SHOULD THE NBA END THEIR ONE-AND-DONE RULE?]