NBA Future Watch: Franz Wagner Basketball Cards, Orlando Magic – Franz Wagner, the younger brother of his new Orlando Magic teammate Moe Wagner, is a native of Germany who blends experience in the international game with an NCAA background at Michigan. The eighth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Wagner, a power forward, is one of the rare highly-drafted prospects to have stayed in school beyond his freshman year, gathering additional seasoning that catapulted him higher on league draft boards.
Wagner’s play at the global level started with a spot on the 2017 FIBA U16 European Championship. One year later, Wagner helped Germany to win the gold medal at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. In 2019, Wagner graduated to a greater role on the FIBA U18 European Championship. Wagner’s feats garnered him a designation that even his decorated older brother did not earn, the Basketball Bundesliga Best German Young Player. As such, he had options in both the European pros and college basketball.
Following in his brother’s footsteps in Ann Arbor in the fall of 2019, Wagner started slowly due to a broken wrist, but rebounded to win Big Ten Freshmen of the Year honors. Notwithstanding being in a system that did not prioritize top NBA prospects in terms of scoring opportunities – instead dishing them out evenly among a number of starters – Wagner returned for a sophomore season and broadened his all-around game: 14 double-doubles, second on the team in blocks and a squad-high in steals. With 12.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG in his second season, Wagner also improved his assists, free-throw shooting and three-point percentage.
As he enters the NBA, Wagner grades out as one of the best defensive European prospects ever and a strong frontcourt playmaker, although his handle and ability to create his own shot are targets for further development. With the capacity to guard multiple positions, Wagner’s versatility ironically opens up opportunities to play with his center/power forward hybrid brother. Wagner’s ability to dish the ball intelligently from the four ties into one of the league’s emerging trends. If he can continue to improve his shooting from distance to fit into the other dominant trend, he will become a showcase star in the Association.
NBA Future Watch: Franz Wagner Basketball Cards, Orlando Magic – Stats
NBA Future Watch: Franz Wagner Basketball Cards, Orlando Magic – More Resources
- Secondary Market Pricing – Franz Wagner
- NBA.com Player Profile – Franz Wagner
- Twitter – @franzboogie
- Panini Chronicles Draft Picks
- Onyx Vintage Basketball
NBA Future Watch: Franz Wagner Basketball Cards, Orlando Magic – Image Gallery
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