Moe Wagner
(Erica Rodriguez/Los Angeles Lakers)

2019 Player Capsule: Moe Wagner

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

Moe Wagner’s rookie season got off to an unfortunate start, when he wasn’t able to participate in training camp due to a sore knee that he first injured playing in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Of course, that knee also kept him from getting in ideal basketball shape, and working on areas of his game that needed honing coming out of his three seasons at the University of Michigan.

Wagner did get his chance for regular minutes later in the season as the Lakers injuries mounted. In 14.3 minutes per game after the All-Star break, Wagner averaged 6.4 points on 40.9 percent shooting and 21.3 percent from three, plus 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game.

“I could have played better, I could have made some shots, but I think that’s part of the process,” said Wagner at his exit interview. “I’m very grateful I got those opportunities. You gotta take that experience as it is and go forward with it.”

45.3: Percent of Wagner’s shots that came from 3-point range, in 1.7 attempts per game, as he largely played as a stretch 4 or a stretch 5.
22 Wagner’s season-high in points, which came on March 9 vs. Boston, when he hit 7 of 13 FG’s and 7 of 7 free throws in a season-high 34 minutes.
-9.1: Wagner’s net rating on the season, which ranked last on the team, just behind Rajon Rondo (-8.4).

When we sat down with Wagner in March to learn about his basketball roots in Germany, to Michigan and into his NBA season, he compared his rookie year to his freshman year of college, when he barely played. He used that following offseason to recognize where he needed to grow to be effective – which he was immediately as a sophomore – and is hoping to follow a similar pattern for the Lakers.

“You gotta take that experience as it is and go forward with it,” he said of his rookie season. “So I’m very happy I had that opportunity and I go with that into the summer.”

The 6’11’’ big man is hoping to play for the German National Team over the summer, but that’s yet to be determined. Regardless, he’s going to be in the gym honing his skills.

“Making shots will be a big thing for me, and then playing off that … whether that’s finding the other big men or another shooter, attacking the paint,” he said. “Those things are going to come once the game slows down for me a little bit. I kinda realize what the NBA game is gonna be like for me, and it’s going to be on me to work for that.”

Wagner will also need to improve his defense, both on and off the ball, against bigs and guards he’s switched onto, and can do that in part by getting stronger, and through experience and recognition.


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