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Franz Wagner is proving to be elite for the Orlando Magic

Franz Wagner may be young, but he is proving to be more than capable of competing at the highest level of basketball.



Jan 15, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (22) drives to the net ahead of Denver Nuggets forward Zeke Nnaji (22) in the third quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t long ago that Franz Wagner was known as nothing more than the brother of former Michigan basketball star Moe Wagner. The older Wagner played three seasons in Ann Arbor, from 2015-2018, leading the Wolverines to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NCAA National Championship appearance.

The younger brother, Franz Wagner, is now making a name for himself and has proven to be an elite college basketball and NBA player. He spent two years at Michigan and is now in the midst of his second season with the Orlando Magic.

College years

Despite spending just two seasons in Ann Arbor, there’s little doubt that Wagner had an incredibly impactful career donning the maize and blue. Over the course of his career, he averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. When thinking about someone who can do pretty much anything on the court, Wagner should be the first person to come to mind.

His sophomore season was by far his most successful with Michigan basketball. Along with being selected to the second-team All-Big Ten team, he was a significant part of the Wolverines’ trip to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA.

His season was so successful he decided to give the NBA a shot as teams fell in love with his combination of scoring, defense, and length. Eventually, he’d be picked No. 8 overall by the Orlando Magic, allowing Franz Wagner to play professional basketball with his older brother Moe.

NBA years

Being selected by the Orlando Magic following the 2021 season, it was apparent he would be a part of a multi-season rebuild. The bright side of this is that he would find plenty of opportunities to see the floor, show what he’s capable of, and gain plenty of experience.

Now, less than two seasons into his career, it’s becoming clear that Wagner has the potential to become a star in this league. Just 44 games into his second season, he’s currently averaging 20.2 points per game, good enough for second on the team and 40th in the entire NBA.

Aside from scoring, Wagner has continued his tendency to do everything for his team, averaging 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 0.9 steals per game. Not only is he showing the ability to be a primary scorer for his team, but he is fearless in getting his hands dirty on the defensive side of the ball.

As I mentioned previously, the Magic are in the midst of a multi-year rebuild, and their record shows it. They currently sit in 13th place in Eastern Conference with a record of 16-28. Still, this shows improvement from one season ago, as they won 22 games through the 2021-22 campaign.

If Orlando can continue to pick up immediate impact pieces such as Wagner, they very well can get back to the winning ways they had with stars like Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal. Catch Franz Wagner continue his sophomore season campaign as the Orlando Magic return to action tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST in Orlando.

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A recent graduate from Kalamazoo College, Tyler has four years experience in sports writing. He currently works as assistant editor for Blue By Ninety and specializes in a variety of sports such as football, swimming and diving, and basketball.