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NBA Draft Prospect Breakdown of Mo Wagner

David Locke

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Moritz “Mo” Wagner breakdown compiled and written by Garret Furubayashi

Age: 21
Position: Center
College: Michigan
Measurables
Height w/o Shoes: 6’10.5”
Height w/ Shoes: 6’11.5”
Weight: 241
Wingspan: 7’0”
Standing Reach: 9’0”
Max Vertical: 34.0”

College Statistics (2017/2018)
MPG: 27.6
PPG: 14.6
RPG: 7.1
ASTPG: 0.8
BLKPG: 0.5
FT%: 69.4%
2-PT FG%: 61.4%
3-PT FG%: 39.4%

Comparisons: Kelly Olynyk, Channing Frye, Henry Ellenson

3 Things to Know
1. Established offensive game
2. Needs improvements on defensive end of the floor
3. High defensive energy and intensity

Strengths
– ­Shown good range and ability from 3
– Versatile threat out of the pick and roll
o Can stretch the defense by popping and hitting a jumper
o Good roller with solid hands and the ability to finish with either hand at the rim
– Shown good ball handling skills and fluidity on drives, especially for a big
– Shown a high basketball IQ and a good feel for the game with passes
– Shown high energy and intensity on defense

Weaknesses
– Not much of a shot blocker
– Shooting off the dribble
– Struggles with switches and guarding on the perimeter
– Learning to finish at awkward angles

Summary
Moritz “Mo” Wagner is a 6’11” center from Berlin, Germany who played 3 seasons at the University of Michigan. Arriving in Ann Arbor as part of the class of 2015, Wagner continued to develop his offensive game, which culminated in a run to the NCAA title game this past season. Wagner increased his PPG this past season from 12.1 his sophomore year to 14.6 his junior year helping lead the Wolverines to the championship game. He’s a versatile threat out of the pick and roll with the ability to finish at the rim with either hand while showcasing good hands to make tough catches, or he can pop out to the 3, where he shot just below 40%, and knock down a shot from a good range. On drives, Wagner has above average ball handling skills, especially for a someone his size, and looks very smooth and fluid when driving to the rim. His passing ability and high basketball IQ are another asset to his offensive game as he’s shown good instincts and feel for the game. One thing he could improve that would take his game to the next level in the NBA would be learning to finish at awkward angles and knocking down more difficult shots to increase his arsenal. He’d also benefit from improving his ability to shoot jumpers off the dribble. If he wants to stick around in the league he’ll need to try and polish his defensive game as he’s not much of a shot blocker and doesn’t scare many drivers with his sole presence in the paint. Wagner also currently struggles guarding on the perimeter and switches, so improving his footwork and lateral quickness will greatly help his chances in the NBA; however, Wagner’s high energy and intensity on defense show that he possesses the fire and drive to potentially improve on the defensive end. Overall, Wagner is a great offensive talent that has good potential in the NBA and is a reason why he should be considered a potential first rounder at the moment. Look for Wagner to be available during the Jazz’s selection as he should fall anywhere from the late first round to the early second.

Locke’s Take:  Wagner is a good enough athlete to play in the NBA.  His shooting is his biggest strength.  If he is able to pass the ball and be any sort of playmaker he could be a Kelly Olynyk.  Not sure he is as tough as Olynyk.   Offensively, he will be an asset to a team.  He will stretch the floor, he can knock down shots, he is a good enough athlete to attack the close out and he has a decent Dirk step back game in the post if he has a smaller guy on him.   Defensively, he is not a rim protector and he will need to learn how to play defensively in space on smaller players.  He may be similar to Ryan Anderson which has been very valuable until this last year.   Michigan runs one of the best systems in college basketball and a lot of their players look better in college than the pros.   He has a roll in the league.  If defense is an issue it will be when he can handle the match-ups, if he improves his passing and can handle it defensively he is a very valuable player.

 

David Locke enters his ninth year as the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz, having spent the majority of his career in radio in Salt Lake City and Seattle. In the summer of 2016, Locke created the Locked on Podcast Network which has podcast daily bite sized podcasts for every NBA and NFL team. A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Locke graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Locke and his wife have a son and a daughter.

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