With the NBA Draft happening tomorrow, Michigan fans will likely be watching to see which team Franz Wagner goes to.
Wagner is a much different prospect than his brother, as he can be a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball with his excellent court vision while knocking down a few threes and defending talented wings on the other side of the floor.
Ahead of Thursday, here’s where national writers and media personalities covering the NBA draft project Wagner’s range. If you want to read the full mock drafts, the link to the article will be embedded into the mention of the company the writer works for.
Golden State Warriors, No. 7
Bill Simmons, The Ringer
In a recent podcast where Simmons acted as a GM with staff writers Kevin O’Connor, J. Kyle Mann and Jonathan Tjarks as members of his war room, Simmons projected the Warriors to take Franz Wagner.
I’m with Tjarks. I think it’s gotta be Wagner here. I can possibly get Mitchell later. And if I can’t get Mitchell, I know I can get [Chris] Duarte. Wagner — they just don’t have a guy like this ... just feels like the kind of guy I can see playing with Curry and Thompson.
Orlando Magic, No. 8
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
Wagner, the brother of former Lakers pick Mo Wagner, has the versatility to play both forward positions. He’s a good rebounder and has solid fundamentals.
Sacramento Kings, No. 9
Jonathan Givony, ESPN
His fit with the Kings appears to be strong as the team attempts to surround its talented young backcourt nucleus of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton with more perimeter options, 3-point threats and versatile defenders at every position.
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic
Wagner is a terrific defender who would go to a team that desperately needs more defensive play. Three things have consistently come up when discussing what the Kings are thinking with sources around the league. First, that they would love to take a bigger wing/forward. Second, that defense is important to them in this pick. And third, that analytics will play a bigger role here than in other situations league-wide, given Monte McNair’s background and ownership’s emphasis on being data-driven. Wagner is the guy that ticks all the boxes there as a 6-foot-9 player with real defensive acumen who is actually younger than quite a few of the one-and-dones in this class.
John Hollinger, The Athletic
While other names have come up here, Wagner feels like the right call. The Kings are pretty analytics driven and Wagner’s numbers are some of the best in the draft; after the runaway success of the Tyrese Haliburton pick last year, the Kings aren’t likely to deviate from this road. Additionally, Sacramento only has one big wing (Harrison Barnes) in its rotation, so Wagner steps into a bit of a void on the roster.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports
The Kings are reportedly looking to trade this pick for win-now help, but Wagner could probably fit that bill to an extent while also giving them an asset for the future. Wagner is one of the best defensive prospects in the draft with his length and instincts, and the Kings were the worst defensive team in the league last season. Sacramento also wants to play fast with De’Aaron Fox at the helm, and Wagner can help it in transition as a finisher, or as a spot-up 3-point shooter if he gains more consistency.
Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports
Wagner is a 6-foot-9 wing who excelled in mismatch situations last season. He ranked in the 94th percentile in post-up situations, averaging 1.2 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports. Wagner is the younger brother of Orlando Magic center Moritz Wagner and can provide solid minutes on a young Kings team alongside Tyrese Haliburton, De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report
Rival teams expect Franz Wagner to go top 10, with the Sacramento Kings at No. 9 being the most likely landing spot. He’s an easy fit for any lineup, with an ability to catch-and-shoot, play-make and guard multiple positions. The Kings could play him as a small or power forward, given his 6’9” size, perimeter skill set and defensive versatility.
Memphis Grizzlies, No. 10 (via trade with New Orleans Pelicans)
Bryan Kalbrosky, USA Today’s For The Win
Wagner isn’t a perfect player by any means and his last game of college basketball may have soured his draft stock a bit. He was 1-for-10 from the field in a loss against UCLA that eliminated his Wolverines from the NCAA tournament. He missed two three-pointers in the final quarter, including an airball on a would-be game-winner.But he is a much more well-rounded prospect than that game would have suggested. His box plus-minus (a catch-all advanced statistic that measures the overall impact on winning a player has for a team) ranked third-best among all underclassmen this past season.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated
Wagner has had a bit of a mysterious pre-draft process, as he opted out of the combine and has conducted workouts quietly. His well-rounded, measured game has made him a popular commodity, supplying feel, great size at either forward spot and excellent team defense. He’ll need to become a better shooter, but there’s a lot to like, and the Grizzlies could stand to add size on the wing.
Charlotte Hornets, No. 11
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer
The Hornets are looking to add a center, possibly a veteran. League sources connect them to Myles Turner, Richaun Holmes, or Nerlens Noel. But there are options in the draft, too. Kai Jones is heavily tied to Charlotte, but Wagner gets the edge here because of his immediate value as a shooter, passer, and defender. Wagner claims he has grown almost two inches, meaning he’s nearly 6-foot-11. The taller he gets, the higher his potential rises.
Indiana Pacers, No. 13
Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News
Wagner at least has the tools to be a successful pick. He is a tremendous finisher at the rim, an exceptional defender and an aggressive rebounder. As is the problem with many top prospects in this draft, he has not shown a consistent long-range shooting touch.
Washington Wizards, No. 15
Adam Hermann, NBC Sports
Wagner is a delightfully versatile offensive threat who stands at 6-foot-9, basically tailor-made to become a reliable wing in the current NBA. He scores from all three levels, doesn’t miss free throws, and is a top-tier passer to boot.