Analyzing Magic ahead Franz Wagner’s play with Germany in EuroBasket


On an individual and staff degree, Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner’s time with the German men’s national basketball team throughout EuroBasket 2022 has been profitable.

Individually, Wagner has shined. With averages of 16.2 factors (53.6% taking pictures from the sector — 55.9% on 2s, 50% on 3s), 4 rebounds and 1.4 assists, Wagner has supplied glimpses as to why German basketball magazine “BASKET” referred to him because the “Face of the New Generation.” The spotlight of his event play has been his 32-point, 8-rebound efficiency in a double-overtime win over Lithuania on Sept. 4.

As a staff, Germany carried out higher within the group-stage video games than most anticipated, going 4-1 in Group B to qualify for the 16-team single-elimination knockout stage.

Germany performs Montenegro (midday on ESPN+) within the Round of 16 on Saturday in Berlin. The winner will play both Greece, led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, or the Czech Republic within the quarterfinals. The event last is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Here are takeaways of Wagner’s play forward of Saturday’s matchup:

The positives

On-ball scoring probabilities

Throughout his rookie season with the Magic, Wagner showed he could handle more responsibilities as a ballhandler. The similar has been the case with Germany.

Wagner, 21, isn’t being tasked with being the staff’s major creator or playmaker. That’s been Dennis Schröder’s position.

But when seemed upon to create scoring alternatives for himself, Wagner constantly delivered in a wide range of methods — pick-and-roll because the ballhandler, in isolation as a driver and pull-up 3s, to call a number of.

Wagner has been notably environment friendly when put in conditions to attain off motion, particularly coming off zipper screens — a minimize off a down display screen up the free throw line.

He’s proven better confidence in his handles, utilizing a number of dribble combos to create area. Wagner doesn’t want lots of room to create scoring alternatives, particularly on drives. His actions and timing of them are idiosyncratic, which might throw off a defender’s rhythm and provides Wagner all of the area he must create beauty for himself.

Wagner is affected person when attacking as a ballhandler, studying the protection and his defender to determine which transfer in his arsenal — crossovers, stutter steps, Euro steps — to deploy.

At 6-10 with a 7-foot-plus wingspan, Wagner has the scale to complete round defenders even when they’re in entrance of him. There have been a number of occasions he took benefit of his size by totally extending his arms round or beneath his defender for finishes across the rim. He’s been environment friendly along with his floater in opposition to drop defenses, an space he additionally thrived in as a rookie.

Wagner has been extra prepared to let it fly from past the arc with Germany — particularly off the dribble, a great counter in opposition to drop defenses — taking 5.95 3s per 36 minutes in EuroBasket in comparison with 4 in his first season in Orlando. The FIBA 3-point line could also be nearer to the basket than the NBA’s, however Wagner has been a number of steps behind the arc for a lot of of his 3s.

He’s even combined in a good quantity of pull-up midrange jumpers, a shot he didn’t take a lot in 2021-22. He took simply 26 lengthy midrange photographs final season, which was 3% of his field goal attempts according to Cleaning The Glass, making 8. Becoming extra comfy with this shot will give Wagner one other instrument in his “bag” when defenses are in a drop — a typical protection to remove the rim.

Cutting/spacing

With Schröder being the lead creator and Germany having a number of ballhandling guards, Wagner’s offensive role has been similar to his one with the Magic. He thrived as a cutter and spot-up shooter throughout his rookie season and that’s continued with Germany.

Wagner has a great sense of timing on his cuts, ready for the paint to open up and for his defender to lose monitor of him when turning their head.

He’s fast and decisive along with his cuts, leaving defenders little time to get better.

Germany has leaned on small-ball lineups throughout essential moments in video games. Wagner makes these lineups work due to the area he creates when stationed within the nook as a shooter.

He made 43.9% (29 of 66) of his corners 3 in 2021-22 and 37.6% of his 3s (62 of 165) by which he shot without taking a dribble. Both are good-to-great marks.

Wagner suits into a wide range of offensive methods and schemes due to his versatility. Like the Magic did final season, Germany leaning on Wagner’s plug-and-play expertise has been helpful.

Defense

Wagner primarily has guarded gamers whose offensive tasks are spacing the ground within the nook, leaving him with alternatives to point out his superior expertise as an off-ball defender.

He was a complicated rookie defender as a result of he is aware of the place to be on the ground, stays able to sink into the paint or leap out to the perimeter and covers floor effectively away from the ball.

Wagner’s block (0.7%) and steal (1.2%) percentages could also be on the decrease finish for an even bigger ahead however he is aware of easy methods to disrupt performs even when it doesn’t present up in a standard field rating.

He does effectively helping the helper and retains his arms unfold out to shut off passing lanes. Wagner additionally makes game-changing highlight-worthy defensive performs.

On the ball, Wagner has been Germany’s greatest defender in opposition to larger wings. He was the very best matchup in opposition to Luka Dončić of their lone loss to Slovenia on Tuesday, although Germany switched many of the on-ball screens involving Dončić to maintain a defender in entrance of him.

Wagner’s time defending Dončić was additionally restricted as soon as he bought into foul hassle.

He is aware of easy methods to swipe the ball out of gamers’ arms and get all ball however typically fouls are referred to as anyway.

Wagner seems to be noticeably stronger in comparison with how he ended his rookie season, serving to him maintain his floor defensively after taking bumps. He does a great job of forcing defenders into assist.

Wagner has proven he can maintain his personal in opposition to smaller ballhandlers, albeit with the extent of guard play in EuroBasket not being on the similar degree because the NBA on a game-to-game foundation.

Even when smaller guards create area in opposition to him, Wagner makes use of his dimension and size effectively to cowl floor and contest their photographs. Wagner guarding smaller gamers might open up larger lineups for the Magic, who’ve a number of versatile and greater forwards who might share the ground.

Areas of enchancment

Finishing at rim

Like many rookies, ending underneath visitors was an space of issue for Wagner.

He does effectively with attending to the rim however can wrestle as soon as he’s there. Wagner made 60% of his photographs inside 4 toes of the basket final season, a below-average mark for forwards, in keeping with Cleaning The Glass.

Efficiency on the rim is important for any participant seeking to make strides of their growth, particularly wings who deal with the ball.

It will be simpler for defenders to contest and disrupt his photographs on the rim as a result of he doesn’t constantly create a big quantity of area on his drives.

Wagner is larger and stronger than he was, however to not the purpose he’s bumping larger defenses off their spots.

He admitted getting faster, stronger and dealing with contact higher had been areas he needed to work on through the offseason. While it’s evident he’s made enhancements in these areas, extra will be made.

Screen navigation

If there’s one defensive space Wagner can enhance at, it’s navigating round screens.

This usually will be tough for larger wings as a result of they’re an even bigger goal.

He’s robust sufficient for a great display screen to not throw him off his path and large enough to nonetheless contest a shot after getting hit by a great display screen. But that sliver of area will be the distinction between a great and unhealthy shot allowed.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or comply with him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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