• Franz Wagner is a big wing with a versatile game whose improvement as a sophomores helped lift Michigan to an Elite Eight appearance. Born in Germany, Wagner emerged from the shadow of his older brother, NBA veteran Moritz Wagner, early in his career as he solidified himself as one of the best prospects in Germany in his own right in his mid-teens. Playing primarily at the junior for ALBA Berlin early in his career, Wagner broke through at the senior level during 2018-19 season when he carved out a steady role in the EuroCup and German BBL. Gaining valuable experience and earning BBL Best German Young Player honors, Wagner rode that momentum into a strong showing at the 2019 FIBA U18 European Championship before following in his brother’s footsteps at Michigan. Emerging as a valuable piece on a veteran team as an 18-year-old freshman, Wagner showed significant growth under Head Coach Juwan Howard averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game to earn All-Big Ten 2nd Team honors in a more demanding role as a sophomore.
• Listed at 6’9 with a noticeably improved 220-pound frame and solid length, Wagner is a fluid athlete with very good size and instincts for a wing who is younger than many of this draft’s one-and-done prospects.
• Playing almost exclusively off the ball as a freshman, Wagner was able to show his versatility as a sophomore still serving as a key floor spacer, but also getting some opportunities to handle the ball in the pick and roll, push the break, and take smaller wings in the post. A competitive player with a solid feel for the game, he flashed intriguing roleplayer potential while seeing minutes at both forward spots. Showing the ability to make sound decisions off the bounce and a good activity level playing off the ball, Wagner contributed in a variety of ways offensively and proved especially productive when he could find his range early in games.
• An active defender with significant experience at the professional level already, Wagner did a lot of little things on that end of the floor for the Wolverines last season getting in the passing lanes with good timing and making an effort to help protect the rim and rebound. He made major strides with his frame as a sophomore that helped him play a more physical brand of defense and still looks like he has room to get stronger which could afford him some opportunity to slide between the forward spots.
• A capable all-around offensive player, Wagner did much of his damage spacing the floor at the college level with a third of his possessions coming in spot up situations. Making some strides as a set shooter as a sophomore averaging 1.02 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [54th percentile], doing a terrific job attacking closeouts with long strides, and able to make reads as a passer on the move, Wagner had some very strong stretches for the Wolverines. He was somewhat streaky from beyond the arc, but looked more fluid with his release both off the catch and off the dribble than he did as a freshman and shows a consistency at the foul line that leaves room for optimism about his potential as a shooter.
• An instinctive player off the ball who likes to attack the rim, Wagner scored 1.18 points per possession in transition [76th percentile] and 1.11 points per shot around the rim in the half court [47th percentile]. He is not overwhelmingly quick or physical off the bounce to turn the corner at will, but is comfortable attacking gaps, takes care of the ball, and can play above the rim with a head of steam.
• Making the easy play passing on the move and relocating well off the ball, Wagner’s ability to do a little bit of everything helped him earn minutes as a teenager with ALBA and made him a cog for what looked like one of the best teams in the country for long stretches of last season.
• Wagner is a diligent defender with a strong grasp of the fundamentals both on and off the ball. Making an effort to rotate, box out, fight around screens, and get a hand up on shooters, he was very solid last season.
• Though Wagner gave up quickness and strength in some high-end matchups, he showed good instincts getting in the passing lanes and using verticality around the rim as a team defender.
— Profile by Synergy Sports