ORLANDO, FL – I’f you’ve been following the Orlando Magic at all this month, you know that the one surprise, the one bright spot, the one point of consistency has been the play of Franz Wagner.
Wagner, the 8h pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, has become a consistent threat to teams that face the struggling Magic, averaging 19.5 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game in 14 games this month. He shot a 52.2-percent effective field goal percentage including 40.4-percent from deep.
Franz has been fearless, using his strong basketball foundation to take what opponents give him to get the points and move the ball to where it needed to be for Orlando.
Wagner also had the task to cover some of the best forwards in the league, often slowing them down and causing teams to alter their offensive strategies against the Magic.
“It’s really cool,” Wagner said after Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls. “I hope it’s cool for all the coaches I work with every day. At the end of the day, I want to win games. It’s cool to be recognized for all the work. But there is a lot more work ahead.”
Wagner has had to be flexible, often becoming the central feature of the Magic offense due to the rash of injuries to the roster, as well as the devastating roster changes due to NBA Health and Safety protocols.
His scoring average for the season — rookie class-leading 15.9 points per game — is the most any rookie has averaged since Anfernee Hardaway in 1994. He had the highest-scoring month for a Magic rookie since Hardaway as well.
His point performance last week against the Milwaukee Bucks is the third highest scoring performance in Orlando Magic history.
“It’s kind of a team recognition for me.” Said Wagner “So many people have helped me everyday, and I just had to apply that. I just come in early and get my shots in, and I think my consistency with that transfers over onto the court.”