Brooklyn Nets Draft Prospect: Moritz Wagner
Michigan big man has an offensive game scouts love
Expect the Nets to go with the best available player, regardless of position. But with a strong contingent of guards on the roster, it’s tempting to envision finding that stretch 4 to complement the frontcourt right here in the first round, and Michigan’s Mo Wagner fits that profile.
There are at least two projections of Wagner going to the Nets in the first round at No. 29, and they come from strong sources. One is Nets beat writer Michael Scotto of THEATHLETIC.COM, whose full mock draft had two other familiar names bound for Brooklyn as of June 1: Rodions Kurucs at No. 40 and Jerome Robinson at No. 45. The other was ESPN.COM draft expert Jonathan Givony. BASKETBALLINSIDERS.COM (May 22) and SI.COM'S Jeremy Woo (June 12) both had Wagner going to the Nets in the second round, as did TANKATHON.COM, which moved Wagner up from No. 45 as of June 5 to No. 40 as of June 12.
SO, WHO IS HE?
Wagner came to Michigan for the 2015-16 season, playing sparingly with current Net Caris LeVert during LeVert’s senior year. Born in Berlin, Germany, he had played club and national age-group team ball before opting for college in the United States over a going directly to a European pro career. The 6-foot-11, 240-pounder averaged just 8.6 minutes and 2.9 points as a freshman before taking a big leap as a sophomore, starting all 77 of Michigan’s games over the last two seasons. He entered the 2017 NBA Draft but never did sign with an agent, eventually withdrawing and returning to Michigan for his junior year.
WHAT’S HE DONE?
An All-Big 10 Second Team selection, Wagner elevated his draft stock with a strong postseason. He was the tournament MVP in leading the Wolverines to the Big 10 Tournament championship and then was named to the All-Tournament Teams for both the West Region and the Final. Four in the NCAA Tournament. In the Final Four, he had 24 points and 15 rebounds in Michigan’s win over Loyola (Chicago) and then scored 16 points with seven rebounds in the national championship game loss against Villanova. He finished the season averaging 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?
The projections of Wagner going to the Nets seem to represent the extreme opinions of the Michigan forward’s draft fate. He seems most likely to be a second-round pick. The projections for him going to the Nets at No. 29 are about as good as it gets for his draft position. But the suggestions he could go to Brooklyn at No. 45 seem to be the floor. For the most part, he’s projected to go in that window from the bottom of the first round to the middle of the second. It’s the shooting range and a polished overall offensive game that drive the positive reviews. Wagner shot 39 percent from 3-point range over his last two college seasons and is equally comfortable operating in the post.