Wizards' vision clear after Wall contract extension
By Zach Rosen
When the Wizards took John Wall with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Washington was hoping to land a true franchise player.
Seven years later, Wall has four All-Star game selections under his belt, has received a Third Team All-NBA nod and became the franchise leader in assists and steals, among other accolades. He's led the Wizards to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs three of the last four seasons. Wall has been the face of the franchise and has made a commitment to Washington D.C. and its community.
This week, Wall signed a multi-year contract extension, solidifying his role as the team's leader for years to come. His commitment to bring D.C. a championship has never been more apparent. This is where one of the league's top point guards wants to be during his prime, a big moment in franchise history.
“Returning to the only team I’ve known in my professional career was an easy decision for me,” said Wall in a statement after signing his multi-year extension. “I want to thank my family, Mr. Leonsis, Ernie Grunfeld, all of my coaches and teammates for their amazing support over the last seven years. I understand my role as the leader of this franchise and I will continue to work hard to improve my game and make our team better. Washington, D.C., is my second home and I take seriously my efforts in the community and look forward to strengthening that bond. Our fans are amazing and I’m excited to bring them and this city continued success and a team they can be proud of.”
“John’s passion for winning, dedication to his teammates and commitment to the community have been on display since we drafted him seven years ago,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld added. “He has constantly worked to improve and expand his game and has developed into an All-NBA player who has elevated our franchise and electrified our fans. We are thrilled that he will continue to lead us through the prime years of his career and look forward to watching as he solidifies his place among the greatest players in our team’s history.”
With Wall's contract extension, the Wizards' vision is as clear as ever with Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. locked in for the future. Beal signed a multi-year extension in the summer of 2016, and Porter re-signed earlier in July. The Wizards' core three players, all drafted in the top three of their respective NBA Drafts, have played with one another for four years now and have grown together. Washington drafted, developed, and retained all three players, a significant feat in today's NBA.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks will be entering his second season with the Wizards in 2017-18. Known as one of the league's top developmental coaches, Wall, Beal, and Porter will only grow with a full offseason and season with Brooks at the helm. Kelly Oubre Jr., 21, should take a step forward in his third season as well, while Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat continue to solidify the team's frontcourt. Ian Mahinmi will be completely healthy in his second season in Washington, and he may surprise people with his impact in the paint. All of those developments point to many years of success to come with the Wizards' core in tact.
Fresh off the franchise's best regular season since 1978-79, the Wizards are just getting started. Along with Wall only turning 27 before the season starts, Beal and Porter are still young at age 24. Beal is hungry for his first All-Star game selection after averaging a career-high 23.1 points per game last season. Porter has a chance to take another big jump in his fifth season after leading all non-centers in effective field goal percentage in 2016-17.
Wall is just entering his prime this coming season. He won't be satisfied until he's on top, for his team and individually. Coming off a career season in which he averaged 23.1 points and 10.7 assists per game, Wall is determined to have an even bigger season in his eighth year with the Wizards.
He has continued to grow each year on the court, but what can't be quantified has been his growth as a leader. Wall's now the backbone of this team and has earned the respect, trust, and commitment from his teammates, which has put this franchise on a path towards long-term success.
With the core locked in for the future, the Wizards are ready to take the next step in advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond. Most importantly, the face of the franchise drafted No. 1 overall in 2010 will be back for the long run.