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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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USA Today Sports

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 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Daniel Ochefu's season...

Player: Daniel Ochefu

Position: Center

Age: 23

2016-17 stats: 19 G, 3.9 mpg, 1.3 ppg, 0.2 apg, 1.2 rpg, 0.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 44.4 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 00.0 FT%, 44.4 eFG%, 91 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Ochefu was no different than the other Wizards' rookies in that he didn't get much playing time at all in 2016-17. Even with Ian Mahinmi missing 51 games, Ochefu rarely saw the floor. Head coach Scott Brooks instead opted for Jason Smith to play extensive minutes in Mahinmi's absence and relied on Marcin Gortat to carry the load.

Injuries or not, that was to be expected for Ochefu, who signed with the Wizards as an undrafted free agent out of Villanova. After holding no picks in the 2016 draft, the Wizards saw enough promise in Ochefu to sign him and stash him on the back of their roster as a prospect.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

The Wizards see potential in Ochefu especially on the defensive end. He was never a big scorer in college, but was essential to Villanova's national championship team as a rebounder and rim protector.

Ochefu will probably have a hard time seeing the floor again this season with the same frontcourt returning. If Mahinmi plays more this year, that even further soldifies Ochefu's role as a third or fourth string guy. And like Sheldon Mac, Ochefu's contract isn't fully guaranteed unless he's still on the roster in January.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, post moves, consistency.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

Will Tomas Satoransky's role expand in his second year?

Will Sheldon Mac be given a bigger opportunity?

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

On Friday evening, John Wall was inducted to the Kentucky Hall-of-Fame, but it was not the memories of Wall's historic time at the University of Kentucky that was the theme of the night.

Rather it was Wall's speech and when he gave a tear-jerking section of it talking about his mom. 

“And last but not least – can you stand up – can ya’ll give recognition to my mom, Frances Pully.”

**pauses for applause**

“I hope she don’t cry and I told her I wouldn’t cry but it might get a little difficult tonight. Ummm, I just want to thank yo-“ pasues to hold back tears. “I want to say thank you for being my mom.

"I know it’s tough growing up with me and my two sisters, seeing my dad go to jail at a young age. You sacrificing everything. I’ve seen you pick me up to school, take me to school, and only pick me up from school. I always wondered what it feel like to be able to do things for my mom, I never had the chance. You know uh, you always told me, when I was sixteen you said, you know Iwas a hard-headed kid, I know you used to hate when I was in kindergarten. You had to sit in the parking a lot of the time because I could never stay in school for more than in 30 minutes, I was always getting kicked out. And she had to drive 45 minutes to take me to school.”

“Then all of a sudden, I started playing AAU basketball. I meet one of my close friends D.J., we call him Grizzly, and she would miss a lot tournaments but she would sacrifice sometimes not paying the light bill just so I could to go play basketball. Then when I was sixteen-years-old, I kept getting in trouble, she took basketball away from me.  She said, ‘you could go down the same road as your daddy, your brothers or you could be somebody special and change our families lives.’ And that is when I want to thank Coach Cal. My senior year I got a breaking and entering charge, just doing some dumb stuff to a kid that had an opportunity to go college. And one of the first people that came down there in 24 hours was Coach Cal. And he said, ‘listen you’re coming to school, I’m getting you away from here.’ And a lot of coaches would have ran from that they wouldn’t have believed on me, they would have gave up on me. And see what I did, see what I accomplished, and the person I have became, I couldn’t thank nobody else.”

“I want to thank you mom for being who you are, being a strong, powerful woman, having that gritty attitude that some people look at me and see in my face and they say ‘Well John Wall is not approachable.’ Well I get it from my mom. And I’m cool with that because when you really get to know me I’m really a loyal person, I’m a family person. And I just want to thank you for being my mom. I wouldn’t ask for nobody else in this world to be my mom. I hope whoever I marry, whoever the mom to my kid, they can be just as strong as you is [sic] and just as powerful."

To see this section of his speech, click the video at the top of the page.

RELATED VIDEO: JOHN WALL'S FULL KENTUCKY HOF SPEECH

Once Wall's moment was over, he broke out his legendary Kentucky jersey, a little tighter than from eight years ago.

"It feels good to put this back on one more time too."

Before he left the stage and the night was done, he entertained with his famous, arm-flexing John Wall dance.