3 draft day Franz Wagner takes that were laughably wrong

Most draft analysts saw a potentially useful role player in Franz Wagner before the NBA Draft. But this could be the season he breaks out as a legit star.
Mar 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) reacts against the
Mar 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) reacts against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

Shaky Franz Wagner draft-day takes: 1. "Orlando likely understands it’s not getting a star with Wagner"

At Bleacher Report, Zach Buckley gave the most depressing take I could find on the Wagner selection. He gave it a C+, recognizing his upside as a role player but dinging the Magic for playing it safe instead of swinging for a star.

"The Magic needed help on the wings, and Wagner offers the plug-and-play kind. But did they play it too safe given their lack of blue-chip talent? Orlando likely understands it’s not getting a star with Wagner, who doesn’t score a lot of style points and isn’t a standout in any particular area. But his all-around skills pave such a clean path to glue-guy status that his representatives should be ironing out an endorsement agreement with Elmer’s."

All three of these draft analysts hit on Wagner's potential as a role player, seeing the ways his size, shooting, complementary playmaking and defensive versatility could be of value. But no one was willing to imagine (publicly) the way his tools and high floor could eventually make him a star.

Last season, Wagner averaged 18.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game with a 58.9 true shooting percentage. He increased his shooting percentages across the board while simultaneously creating more offense for himself than he did during his rookie season. He's still not much of a threat in perimeter isolations but he can attack closeouts and averaged 10.0 drives per game and a respectable 0.671 points per drive. He ranked in the 58th percentile in scoring efficiency as the ball-handler in the pick-and-roll — better than James Harden, Anthony Edwards, LeBron James or Jayson Tatum. He's also already very good at punishing small players in the post.

Wagner may never be an elite individual perimeter scorer or primary creator and initiator for the Magic but he has the potential to be a lot more than just a purely complementary scorer. With the diverse array of tools at his disposal, his unique size on the wing and his defensive upside Wagner could absolutely be a star.

The Whiteboard, FanSided's daily NBA email newsletter. dark. Subscribe. The Whiteboard Subscribe CTA