“Ahead of even Cade Cunningham”


Franz Wagner is getting a lot of hype. Orlando Magic and Germany star Wagner helped Germany win the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Wagner was already a rising star in the NBA after a strong season with the Magic.

The Ringer’s NBA analyst Kevin O’Connor has high praise for Wagner. He thinks he may be ahead of other young stars on a path to the elite level of the league.

“Wagner could someday become a top-20 player. In a 2021 redraft, he could easily go first—ahead of even Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes,” O’Connor said.

Wagner went eighth overall to the Magic in the 2021 draft. He was selected behind Cunningham, Jalen Green, Mobley, Barnes, Jalen Suggs, Josh Giddey and Jonathan Kuminga.

Franz Wagner was selected to the 2022 All-Rookie first team alongside Green, Cunningham, Mobley and Barnes. The German scored 15.2 points per game in his rookie season.

He flew to even higher heights in his sophomore campaign. Wagner averaged 18.6 ppg in 80 games. He also shot 48.5 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from 3-point range. Green was the only member of the 2021 class who outscored Wagner last season at 22.1 ppg.

Wagner’s rising trends soared on the international stage as well. He was a critical part of Germany’s perfect run in the World Cup after missing a few early games with an injury. He scored a team-high 16 points for Germany in a critical win against Latvia in the second round.

What’s next for Franz Wagner?

Franz Wagner could be in store for a leap in his third season. He will be the 1B to Paolo Banchero for the Orlando Magic.

The team has a ton of young talent and seems to be on the brink of rising into a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. Wagner will be a critical part of that leap if Orlando can ascend.

Franz Wagner should be able to increase his scoring output to more than 20 ppg as his experience and touches increase. He fits in perfectly with Orlando’s system of athletic, lengthy players.

Wagner scored a career game-high 38 points in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in his rookie season. Although Milwaukee won the game 127-110, Wagner still led his team in the best way he could. As the new season is upon us, he would definitely like to set up a new benchmark for game-high scoring.

The Magic added more young players with two more lottery picks in Anthony Black and Jet Howard. They also re-signed Wagner’s brother Moritz. Orlando added some veteran help as well to mentor their young team in the form of Australian veteran guard Joe Ingles.

Wagner could be in line for a big payday soon. He will become a restricted free agent in the offseason of 2025.

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