With the NBA Draft a mere seven weeks away, it is officially peak mock draft season! Michigan has a few fringe prospects of note in Isaiah Livers, Chaundee Brown, Mike Smith and DeVante’ Jones. The only prospect from Michigan almost assured to be drafted is Franz Wagner. The lengthy German wing has remained a consensus first-round pick, hovering near the end of the lottery. Let’s take a look at where various mock drafts have Wagner going, as well as what they have to say about him.
USA Today (Darren Hartwell): 10th Overall, New Orleans Pelicans
Wagner might be a reach at No. 10, but he fits both of the Pelicans’ most pressing needs: defense and shooting. The 6-foot-9 wing is a versatile defender who shot 47.7% from the floor last season.
CBS Sports (Kyle Boone): 13th Overall, Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have scorers in Caris LeVert and T.J. Warren, but what they lack most on the roster is depth at wing. Wagner can be an instant impact addition at that position, as he thrived for Michigan as a defensive specialist who can knock down 3s and provide support for the team’s top dogs.
NBC Sports (James Ham): 17th Overall, Memphis Grizzlies
Wagner can score, rebound and he’s developing as a secondary distributor. He has a quick release and a clean stroke from long range, although his numbers don’t jump off the page. A high basketball IQ player, Wagner moves well without the ball and isn’t afraid to take the big shot. He has good size for an NBA wing, although he is an average athlete at best.
The Grizzlies have plenty of super athletes on their roster. They could use a multi-positional player that can shoot, pass and fit into their system. Wagner can stretch the floor and he brings plenty more to the table.
Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman): 11th Overall, Charlotte Hornets
A need for a center won’t stop the Hornets from drafting Wagner, an easy NBA fit for his shoot-dribble-pass skill set at 6’9”. His versatility at both ends and experience—both overseas and at Michigan—should be a selling point to every team once the top freshmen and Ignite players are taken.
To me, the best fits are with the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies. Indiana had the sixth-worst defense in 2020-21 by points allowed per game and could use more depth. Memphis also had a bottom-half defense this season and could use some wings to space the floor for Ja Morant to go to work.
Either way, Wagner seems poised to be taken in the first round next month.