Question on Wagner

Submitted by LLG on April 2nd, 2018 at 5:54 PM

While we are all waiting for the game, I thought I'd pose a genuine question about Mo Wagner for the Board -- particularly those who know a lot about basketball.  In my exuberance over Wagner's excellence, I mentioned to people that he should be a top 10 pick in the draft.  My brief reasoning was the a 6 foot 11 inch player who can shoot 3 pointers is valuable in the NBA today particularly because he looks like he is going to fill out and gain weight.  This was immediately guffawed by the other people around me (who aren't Michigan fans) and I did some research on it.  I was suprised that he isn't more highly regarded for the NBA.

What am I missing about today's NBA and/or Wagner's skills that don't make a higher draft pick?  And, separate question, how many spots has this tournament's play moved him up?

Any thoughtful answers greatly appreciated.  Dayenu!  And Let's Go Blue! 



April 2nd, 2018 at 5:58 PM ^

I’m certainly no expert but best guess: he has the offensive skills but lacks requisite athleticism to play defense and grab boards at the 5 in the nba. Think he’d be a bit of a liability on defense


April 2nd, 2018 at 5:59 PM ^

on the day of the draft. He's a very average athlete. He is a pretty one dimensional player, as elite as he can be offensively, he can be very inconsistent defensively. He can shoot well, but he's not great at creating his own shot from three against NBA Caliber defenders. He can probably only play one position in the NBA, and sometimes struggles against big bruising centers. He's a fantastic college player, and he's going to probably be a first round pick in the NBA, but there are too many young dudes that can jump through the roof with more versatility to consider him in the top 10. I could see him maybe sneaking into the lottery with a monster game tonight, but that's probably as high as his stock will rise.


April 2nd, 2018 at 6:15 PM ^

He's just not athletic enough to be a stretch player, and he's not big enough or athletic enough to play a conventional 5. I can't think of many comparable players that are having success in the NBA. Frank Kaminsky was much better in college and he's like the #3 big in Charlotte. Lauri Markennan is taller and more athletic probably.


April 2nd, 2018 at 6:15 PM ^

I’m confident that he will go pro after this year but I think he is a total liability on the defensive end of the ball. He is very good offensively but I just see 4s and 5s in the NBA feasting on him down low.

Naked Bootlegger

April 2nd, 2018 at 6:21 PM ^

Where was Kaminsky drafted?   Near 9 or 10 overall?   He is a reasonable comparison to Moe Wagner as a versatile Big 10 big man, but lacking elite athleticism.   Remember that Frank Kaminsky won National POY after his senior season at Wisconsin.   He did everything consistently well.    Shot the 3 well.   Reasonable ball handler for a 7 footer.   Great passer.   Excellent collegiate defender.    This is probably a similar ceiling for Moe Wagner IF he improves strength, explosion, and lateral movement and demonstrates consistency and dominance at the NCAA level.   He's young for his age, so there is definitely room to improve his measurables.   This tournament has been a microcosm of Wagner's career - tantalizing offensive skills, but still shows some inconsistency on both ends of the floor.


Naked Bootlegger

April 2nd, 2018 at 7:07 PM ^

Exactly.  Kaminsky had an epic senior season as a versatile 7 footer, and still barely cracked the top 10.   Wagner would have to demonstrate this type of ability to get a top 15 draft grade next year, which means staying for his senior season.     

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Let's win the game tonight and celebrate in style.


April 2nd, 2018 at 6:47 PM ^

He just doesn't have the footwork down on defense, and there seems to be somewhat of a mental component to it. Maybe he just is the type that argues over every foul call against him, but it seems like he doesn't realize that his problematic footwork often causes him to foul with his body on defense (even if his hands are straight up, which he will be the first to show you).

You can mock (incorrectly) the importance of defense in the NBA all you want, but there's a reason why Stauskas hasn't panned out.


April 2nd, 2018 at 6:56 PM ^

In 3 of the games he has scored 5, 12 and 12 points. That doesn't scream first round to me considering that offense is his calling card. He can shoot, but he is slow getting his shot off. NBA defenses won't leave him alone long enough for him to get many open looks.
That said, I'd take him as a backup 5. I think folks are under rating his defense. The NBA game is changing and you don't see too many bigs like Kansas' Azubuike any more.


April 2nd, 2018 at 7:06 PM ^

It's been said elsewhere, but he's not that big or athletic enough to be a real stopper on defense, nor does he rebound at a truly elite level.

He should be a first rounder, but I'd be bothered if my team spent a lottery pick on him.

Hugh Jass

April 2nd, 2018 at 7:19 PM ^

he will have a pretty good career in Europe somewhere.  He may stick around the NBA for a few but he will not be a starter - I really hope I am wrong.  Would love to see him come back to UM next year - have a fantastic season, win back to back Natty's then have a nice solid pro career.....GO BLUE

Fletcher Hall

April 2nd, 2018 at 7:54 PM ^

God bless him, but Moe still has a lot of work to do to improve his defensive game.

In the pros, he could occasionally play the 5, but he is neither a rim protector or able to stop opposing bigs from backing him down.

The four which most likely his future position, requires a good deal of athleticism in today’s league-he just doesn’t have the foot speed.

Another year with Yacklich may prove to be helpful as he still lacks some of the awareness to play great d-watch him carefully at times and he’ll turn his back to the ball, be slow to help against dribble penetration or hedge a second too long before falling back into position.

El Jeffe

April 2nd, 2018 at 8:21 PM ^

I feel like Moe could catch on as a middle class man's Steve Novak or a lower middle class man's Ryan Anderson. He doesn't shoot nearly as well as they do (yet), but Novak never took anyone off the dribble, either.

I think he's a late second-rounder if he goes this year, maybe a high second-rounder next year. And I really hope the Spurs take him!


April 2nd, 2018 at 8:34 PM ^

of his career for the 76'ers and Suns can become an all-star and HOF player, you've got to wonder what it takes to play forward in the NBA and succeed. But then again Charles was special. The Hornets got two Big Ten all-star centers and MVPs, Zeller and Kaminsky on their team, and neither is much of a difference maker, which just means the NBA and college basketball are comletely different games.