Franz Wagner from a Numbers Perspective

Crunching the numbers on one of my favorite prospects

There have only been 9, Franz Wagner being the 9th, freshmen or sophomores who have managed to accumulated more than +5 in both OBPM and DBPM, and have been, or will be, drafted in the first round. The only second rounder who managed this statistical feat was Xavier Tillman. Those other eight are:

  1. Mikal Bridges 10.2 BPM
  2. Tyreke Evans 10.6 BPM
  3. Marcus Smart 10.9 BPM
  4. Evan Mobley 12.6
  5. Otto Porter 13.1 BPM
  6. Karl-Anthony Towns 13.1 BPM
  7. Antony Davis 16.7 BPM
  8. Zion Williamson 18.1 BPM

Wagner’s BPM is 11.9. Based on that he is closer to a very high end role player than a star.

Defensive Metrics

Let’s look at some defensive indicators. Wagner has a Def reb% of 19.6, steal rate of 2.3 and block rate of 3.2, his DBPM is 6.1 If we look for freshmen or Sophomore who had been drafted in the first round, and have a def reb rate of 15+ steal rate of 2+, block rate of 3+ and DBPM of 6+ we get some interesting names:

  1. Joel Embiid – 27 DR, 11.7 BLKR , 2.3 STLR, 6.4 DBPM
  2. Nerleans Noel – 22.3 DR – 13.2 BLK – 3 STLR 7.1 DBPM
  3. Willie Cauley-Stein – 16.4 DR – 12.3 BLK – 2.5 STL – 7 DBPM
  4. Anthony Davis – 23.9 DR – 13.7 BLK – 2.5 STL – 7.6 DBPM

Very interesting group of players. Anthony Davis has been a generational defensive player, Embiid was one of the DPOY candidates this year. Noel has had his ups and downs with injuries, and while he is a limited offensive player he did lead the NBA in DBPM last year. While Wagner most certainly will not bring the amount of block shots and rim protection that those 3 did, he is a lot more switchable than them, and could be an amazing defensive 4, who brings great weakside rim protection, or even a small ball 5 in the playoffs in certain matchups, who can do enough shot altering and rebounding, but also guard ball initiators.

Will the he be able to space the Floor?

Next I looked at his FT%-80%, (which according to most is the most reliable factor in projecting if a player will shoot 3s), his FTR 30+, and Usage 25-, 3pt% 30+. And only looking at guys 6 6 or taller. The list of names:

  1. Freshman Gordon Hayward – Career 37 3pt% In the NBA
  2. Freshman Lauri Markannen  – Career 36.6 3pt%
  3. Sophomore Rodney Hood – Career 36.7 3pt%
  4. Freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Career 37.1 3pt%
  5. Sophomore Luke Kennard – Career 41 3pt%
  6. Sophomore Nik Stauskas – Career 35 3pt%
  7. Sophomore Luke Babbit – Career 40 3pt%

Based on this, it is more likely that Wagner will be an above average 3pt% shooter in the NBA. He might even approach 40%. The only reason for concern is that most of these guys (SGA and Babbit being the only exceptions) took more 3s per 100 possessions than Wagner. He is at around 7 per 100 possessions, most of them are between 8.5 and 11.

Creation for Others

Wagner had a very impressive ass/To ratio of 2.31, one of the highest in this draft class. But his usage was low, around 19%, and his assist% is around 17%. When you look at freshman/sophomores with similar numbers and over 6 5 in height, you get this list of players.

  1. Freshman Tyrese Haliburton
  2. Sophomore Justin Jackson
  3. Sophomore Denzel Valentine

If you expand that to players of all sizes you add

  1. Freshman Terry Rozier
  2. Freshman Cory Joseph
  3. Freshman Landy Shamet

Apart from Haliburton, the rest of these guys are just ok playmakers on the next level. That will probably be true about Wagner, while he possesses decent handle and PnR prowess for a player his size, it is more likely that he will average 3 assists per game than 5 or 6, accumulating them by making the extra pass, playmaking in transition, and maybe even being a PnR ball handler with the second unit. But at least you know you get a player who rarely turns the ball over.

Scoring Volume

If you look at the top 30 scorers in the NBA, they know who to generate 3s+FTs or 2s+FTs. Oddly enough 19 out of the top 30 scorers from last season generated more than 50% of their PPG from 2s+FTs, including guards like Beal, Booker, Irving. Wagner is a type of player who also generates most of his points with 2s+FTs, with 70% of his PPG coming for that fusion. His FT rate was around 30 and he took 5.6 2s per game, with a FG% of 56%.

Here are the players with FT rate of 25+, FT% of 80% 5 2ptFG+, and a 2pt FG% of 55%:

  1. Jeremy Lamb Peak PPG 15
  2. Landry Shamet peak PPG 9
  3. Ben McLamore peak PPG 12
  4. Gordon Hayward peak PPG 22


I been a Wagner fan since I started scouting him, but have to admit this made me a bit less optimistic. There is a lot of upside there still, but its clearly more likely that he will be a awesome defender in the NBA. The offense is still a question mark, especially the ability to generate offense for himself. If I was drafting him, my hopes would be that he turns into Gordon Hayward on offense, which is more likely in the playmaking sense than the scoring one, and defensively a player who could be a All NBA defender one day. What seems very likely is that with Wagner you are getting a player who impacts winning on a high level.

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