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2018 NBA Draft Player Profile: Moritz Wagner

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The German stretch big has good offensive potential but questionable defensive viability

One player coming into the draft this year is a big PF/C from Germany that can shoot the 3, and no it’s not Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk is coming back for his 21st year in the league, not his 1st. I’m talking about Michigan’s Moritz Wagner. He helped lead a good Michigan team to 14 straight wins and a trip to Final Four, earning himself a place on the NCAA All-Tournament Team in both the West Region and for the Final Four (the only non-Villanova player to make it). What’s his stock like coming into the 2018 NBA Draft?

College Stats

  • Per game: 27.6 minutes, 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks
  • Per 40: 21.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.7 blocks
  • Advanced: Off Rtg 117.3, Def Rtg 92.3, PER 24.7, WS/48 0.213, TRB% 15.7, BPM 8.1
  • Shooting: FG 52.8%, 3PT 39.4%, FT 69.4%, TS 61.9%, eFG 60.5%

NBA Combine Results

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 6’10.5”
  • Weight: 241
  • Wingspan: 7’0”
  • Max Vertical: 34 inches

Strengths

Mo turned himself into a really good stretch big for the Wolverines, and that will be his greatest value in the NBA as well. He’s proven 2 years straight that he can hit the 3 ball reliably, shooting over 3.5 per game at nearly 40%. His height and shooting quickness means he shouldn’t have a problem getting those shots off in the NBA.

If you’ve ever watched him play, you also know he plays with passion, running the floor and letting his emotion fire him and his teammates up. He’s surprisingly creative with the ball for a big man, and can be a weapon on the block but off the dribble a little as well. This is something he used to get by his guy for baskets, but set teammates up as well.

Here’s a pretty nice scouting video for further info on Wagner:

Weaknesses

While his team defense certainly improved, his defense overall is still one of his bigger issues. There are times when he can get lost in the rotations or is beat by quicker, more athletic players. He also doesn’t have a ton of length for a guy his size, which may make it difficult to finish over NBA bigs around the rim.

There are also concerns that he may be a little too slow for quicker stretch 4’s, but a little too weak for NBA centers. Due to his defensive liabilities, he might be limited to a situational player rather than a reliable starter in the NBA.

Utah Jazz Fit

Well, he’s an international player, so hand meet glove. The lineup (if Donovan were our) could be Ricky Rubio (Spain), Joe Ingles (Australia), Thabo Sefolosha (Switzerland), Jonas Jerebko (Sweden), and Rudy Gobert (France) with Raul Neto (Brazil) and Moritz Wagner (Germany) coming off the bench.

In all seriousness, I think Dennis Lindsey will continue searching for a stretch big that can fit alongside Utah’s core for the longterm. The offensive upside of Wagner could push the Jazz general manager to give him a chance and see how much he develops inside Quin Snyder’s system.

Moritz’s current projections have him as a late first rounder or early second rounder. If the Jazz really like him, I guess 21 wouldn’t be too big of a reach. If he ends up being Lindsey’s guy, I would see either a trade back from the 21st pick, or a trade up into the early second round in order to get him.

Statistics and scouting references are basketball-reference.com and stats.nba.com.