Bleacher Report recently named some reaches and steals in the NBA Draft. For the Los Angeles Lakers, Moritz Wagner was named a reach.
With the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Michigan big man Moritz Wagner. Wagner was arguably the best player on a good Michigan team that made a Final Four run last season before coming up short against Villanova.
The strong season from Wagner certainly helped Michigan have a strong season, as he was one of the top shooting big men in the country. In his junior season, Wagner averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. One of his best strengths was shooting the ball from beyond the arc, as he shot it at 39.4 percent.
Measuring a hair under 7’0”, Wagner’s ability to spread the floor offensively will certainly help him find some playing time in the NBA. With Brook Lopez being a free agent this offseason, adding Wagner is likely an indication that Lopez won’t be back. The Lakers used Lopez to stretch the floor last season, and we could see Wagner in a very similar role next season.
Despite a good career at Michigan and the ability to shoot the ball effectively from deep, Bleacher Report named Wagner as a reach for the Lakers. Here’s what they had to say about the pick.
The Lakers were wise to grab a smart, skillful offensive weapon. They just did it about 10 picks too early.
Wagner is certainly a good fit for the Lakers with a need to improve at three-point shooting and get a big man in case Lopez leaves, however, they might have been able to wait until their first selection in the second round in order to get him.
One of the main concerns for Wagner will be what he can do on the defensive end of the court. At Michigan, Wagner struggled defending the pick-and-roll, as his foot quickness is going to be something that needs to be improved. Also, as a near seven-footer, Wagner didn’t even average a block per game, as he won’t be providing much rim protection.
With Robert Williams still on the board when they picked Wagner, the two will likely be linked. Even more so because the Celtics took him a few picks later. While Wagner can certainly become a good NBA player, as of now, the Lakers might have reached on him with the 25th pick.