One of the final picks of the Magic Johnson era.
This pick is infamous in the fact that the Lakers scouting department was overruled by Johnson himself.
The Lakers scouting department had their eyes firmly set on drafting Omari Spellman. Johnson stepped in and drafted Wagner.
Wagner so far has not shown a lot in his time in the NBA.
He has looked excellent at times for the Washington Wizards and other times he is a complete non-factor.
Is it simply because he is stuck behind a log jam of minutes behind former Laker Thomas Bryant and experienced veteran Robin Lopez? or is it as simple as he isn’t good enough to be impactful on an NBA roster?
I would lean towards the former rather than the latter.
Wagner when he is switched on looks the part of the perfect modern-day big man.
When the light is on, Wagner can stretch the floor, is capable of getting buckets inside, is a serviceable rebounder, and gives constant effort.
It also doesn’t help Wagner that his head coach Scott Brooks is potentially one of the worst coaches still employed in the NBA.
At this point in his career, before he hits free agency, it might be time for a change of scenery for the big man from Germany.
Maybe they can address that position in the buyout market but the Lakers can’t afford to allow Marc Gasol to be overworked during the regular season. Yes, Montrezl Harrell, Markieff Morris, and Anthony Davis can all play center but the Lakers need another body who can lighten the load.
While Wagner isn’t going to move the needle that much, he offers another borderline 7-footer whose best days are ahead of him rather than behind him.
Use the 15th roster spot on a wing who can take the stress off of LeBron James down the stretch in the season.