Two Michigan Wolverines tested the NBA waters this offseason, but both found their way back to the collegiate game in Ann Arbor. Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner were two of the most impressive players on the roster last season and wanted to gauge the interest of the professional level in hopes to improve for the (hopefully) upcoming 2020-21 season.
Livers touted on a podcast with Andy Katz that scouts told him he could be selected anywhere from late first-round to undrafted.
However, not much has been said about Franz, the German prospect and brother of former first-round pick Moritz Wagner. As a freshman, there was clear improvement throughout the 2019-20 season from Wagner after missing the first games of the season with a wrist injury. Once comfortability set in at the collegiate level, Wagner put on some impressive performances for the maize and blue. The young shooting guard also reportedly grew an inch and put on 15 pounds in his first offseason at Michigan.
That tandem has caught the attention of some NBA Draft experts as Jonathan Giveny from ESPN updated his Top-60 list for the 2021 draft after players like Wagner and Livers decided to return to the NCAA for another year.
In what makes to be a stronger draft than this year’s, Wagner comes out as the No. 39 player on Giveny’s list slotting him in to the early second-round. A different story is told for Livers who does not appear on Giveny’s rankings.
It may be a surprise for Livers to be absent from the mock draft, but with an injury history and not a lot of tape to show for it, the Michigan senior may have a tough go at it if he can’t stay on the court. If the pandemic costs the Wolverines their season this year it would likely severely hurt Livers chances at hearing his name called.
If recruiting would have gone a little differently before the pandemic struck the Wolverines could have added two more names this mock draft with Isaiah Todd (G-League) going No. 48 and Josh Christopher (Arizona State) being selected at 16. After the first year with the high school to G-League pipeline, four recruits from the developmental league are anticipated to be drafted in 2021.
Five Big Ten athletes appear on the list, all in the second-round with Michigan State’s Aaron Henry being selected one spot before Wagner at No. 38, Indiana center Trayce Jackson-Davis at No. 45, reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Luka Garza at No. 58, and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu at No. 59.