At 6-foot-9 — and possibly even taller, with the rumor being that he’s closer to 6-11 — Wagner has guard skills, with the Wolverines making him the ball-handler on 23 percent of the team’s pick-and-roll plays last season. He uses his height to his advantage, being able to see over the defense and find open teammates, which helped him post three assists per game on the year to go along with his 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds.
And his defense might even be the best aspect of his game, with the German having checked in third nationally in defensive box plus/minus in 2020-21. He also averaged 1.25 assists and nearly one block per contest.
While he has room to grow in quite a few areas — most young players heading into the draft are in the same boat — Wagner is considered very good in many different ways, making him an appealing option early on in the draft.
“The Minnesota Timberwolves’ pick falling outside the top three means it goes to the Golden State Warriors as part of the D’Angelo Russell–Andrew Wiggins trade,” Wasserman wrote.
“But at No. 7, there isn’t an obvious best player available, meaning fit could factor into Golden State’s decision. And Franz Wagner looks like a textbook fit for the team’s roster and system.
“Versatile at 6-9 with a well-rounded skill set and excellent defensive IQ/mobility, Wagner could be a plug-and-play option at the three or four spots. Ideally, he becomes a more consistent shooter, but even at 19 years old going on 20 (August), Wagner should pose an immediate threat as a shot-maker, passer and slasher through open lanes with the feet and instincts to guard multiple positions.”
There is also debate about whether or not Michigan forward Isaiah Livers, who recently underwent foot surgery and is set to be rehabbing until the fall, will be selected, but Wasserman has him going in the back end of the second round at No. 54 overall to the Indiana Pacers.
It hurts Livers that he’s not able to work out in front of teams, but he’s likely to impress GMs and scouts in interviews that he’ll still be able to participate in. On top of that, there is enough tape — four years worth, give or take missing some time due to a couple injuries — of Livers playing at Michigan. And his numbers — 13.1 points and six rebounds per game, along with a 43.1-percent three-point shooting clip as a senior — speak for themselves.