Michigan center Moritz Wagner looks to begin his NBA career by being drafted somewhere in the second-round of the 2018 NBA draft and the Washington Wizards could be an option at No. 44 overall.
Following his initial pre-draft workout, the Washington Wizards invited Wagner to an additional and private workout to closely evaluate his skills sets, per Ben Standig of The Sports Capital. The Wizards are hoping Wagner falls to No. 44 where the Wizards hold a second-round draft selection.
However, in the flurry of NBA mock drafts, Wagner is projected to fall early in the second-round and before the Wizards selection at No. 44 overall. For example, NBADraft.net tabs Wagner at No. 33 to the Dallas Mavericks while SI.com’s latest NBA Mock Draft 9.0 pegs Wagner at No. 40 overall to the Brooklyn Nets.
Other sports outlets such as The Ringer has Wagner at No. 33 to the Mavericks and Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com puts No. 27 to the Eastern Conference powerhouse Boston Celtics.
Wagner, 21, averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds during his junior year while guiding Michigan to the title game in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Per Jake Fischer of SI.com’s The Crossover, some of Wagner’s strength and weaknesses include:
- 39.5 percent from beyond the arc in two seasons at Michigan
- Elite size and sufficient mechanics
- Above-average handles with an ability to attack the rim from beyond the arc
- Raised skills as a rebounder and increased defensive rebound rate to 24.9 percent during his junior year
- Limited speed and athleticism for the NBA level
- Career average of 0.6 blocks per 36 minutes at Michigan
- Offensive skill sets are predictable at times
Wagner recorded nine 20-plus point performances last season with the Wolverines including an awe-inspiring Final Four performance against Loyola-Chicago when he produced a double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds to advance Michigan to the National Championship game against Villanova.
The German native also registered a career-high 27 points in a huge victory at No. 4 Michigan State on Jan. 13.
As mentioned earlier, Gortat’s time with the Wizards is coming to an end soon and the overpaid Mahinmi didn’t show any signs of improvement as he’s tied to a hefty contract. Wagner could make an immediate impact his rookie season behind Wizards starting forward Markieff Morris and backup Gortat with heavy minutes.