Franz Wagner is making noise at EuroBasket 2022.
Franz Wagner was one of the top candidates to win the Rookie of the Year award in his first season with the Orlando Magic. However, no one expected his explosion to reach the point of being one of Germany’s most important players at EuroBasket 2022, with a profile that looks more and more like Manu Ginobili’s.
His versatility on the defensive end made life difficult for Luka Doncic against Slovenia and Giannis Antetokounmpo in a game against Greece. He’s also causing Stendhal syndrome in all those who are watching him play in the FIBA tournament.
Germany recently advanced to the tournament semifinals and Franz is proving to be one of the team’s most valuable players alongside old NBA veterans Daniel Theis and Dennis Schroder.
He has a defensive versatility to the point that he made life very difficult for players like Luka Doncic in the game against Slovenia and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the game against Greece, and is causing Stendhal syndrome in all those who are watching him play in the FIBA tournament.
In addition, his offensive game is becoming more and more diversified and he is getting to the point where he’s become a pick-and-roll threat.
Also, he is shooting threes in isolation plays and after catching the ball, gets to the hoop with his excellent technique. Franz is also proving to be an improved passer.
The Orlando Magic unicorn named Franz Wagner
Like many NBA players, it’s impossible to lock him into one position and put a label on him. He can literally do it all.
Franz is averaging 16.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 25.2 minutes on the court during the seven games he played in the EuroBasket 2022.
And one of the most delightful things is that he is converting more than half of his three-point shots (51.5% on 4.7 attempts). Only 10 players in the tournament maintain a better three-point shooting average than Wagner when evaluating those who shot at least 2.0 attempts per game.
His three-point shooting had not been his main skill in the NBA and in his only season with the Magic he shot 35.4% in 3.4 attempts, which shows the excellent progress the German is making. Though, it’s important to always take into account the shorter distance that exists on FIBA courts.
In fact, Himar Ojeda, sporting director of Alba Berlin, which had Franz in its ranks for two years, compared him to Manu Ginobili in an interview on the radio program Extrapase:
"“I agree with the comparison of Manu Ginobili to Wagner. I gave him that example way back in Alba Berlin, and I told him that was his profile. He has a lot of things that remind me of Manu. I didn’t think the explosion would be of this magnitude, I thought it would be more progressive. However, it is true that with us he was already showing very good skills. At 17, he was a starter shooting guard in the final against Bayern Munich, so it wasn’t as hard for us to see him as it was for others. I was sure he would be a very good player, you realize the mentality he has, the ease of incorporating knowledge, and the ability to generally make the right decision. He always does what needs to be done. That’s what I told all the NBA scouts. For example, the first time Franz and Orlando played against Milwaukee, Mike Budenholzer, who I knew from my time with as director of international scouting of the Atlanta Hawks, sent me a message saying, ‘I’m shocked, I don’t think I’ve seen a rookie as good as this in many, many years.’ That’s what he does.”"
On the court, Franz Wagner waits for no one. He is aggressive and doesn’t stop. Sometimes he seems to be rushed, but that’s part of his essence. Just as those who know him didn’t expect this explosion, the Orlando Magic player wastes no time and continues to improve.
Don’t let his rise in the NBA take you by surprise. After reading this article you can be a little calmer, that perhaps it is part of his nature to leave everyone speechless. Even if you sometimes think you already know him. Even if you sometimes think you’ve seen it all.
Franz Wagner, don’t be amazed by him. Or, actually, yes, be amazed.