Mo Wagner is one of the many new faces on the Washington Wizards this season. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers on June 27 along with Isaac Bonga, Jemarrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round pick.
Wagner will be looking to compete for minutes in a stacked Wizards frontcourt that features Japanese phenomenon Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr., and Davis Bertrans. While Wagner received limited playing time in his first season in the NBA, he showed promising glimpses of potential that Wizards executives remember seeing way back when he was a Michigan Wolverine.
You forgot about that? Well, here’s a refresher for those who may have forgotten. In the 2018 NBA Draft, Wagner was rated relatively high on the Wizards’ draft board. However, he was not rated high enough as the Wizards opted to select Troy Brown at 15. With that being said, they liked what Wagner brought to the table as a stretch-4 or stretch-5 that could both post up and shoot from beyond the arc. His 38% shooting clip in his final season at Michigan proved that.
However, Wagner was not able to show much of his abilities last season. He averaged 4.8 ppg and 2 rpg in 10.4 mpg over 43 for the Lakers in his rookie season. However, when he did play starter minutes, he did well. On March 9th, when his Lakers faced the Boston Celtics, Wagner totaled 22 points on 7-13 shooting, 6 boards and 3 assists. That game showed what Wizards executives liked from him in college; outside shots, a solid post game, and an ability to play as either a power forward or center.
With his new team, Wagner showed Wizards fans what he is capable of during the 2019 NBA Summer League. While he started off slow, Wagner did have one bright outing towards the end of the competition. In the consolation game against the New York Knicks, Wagner scored 20 points with eight rebounds, making up for his poor start.
Wagner is from Berlin, Germany, and has stated that he idolized Dirk Nowitzki growing up. Both are of similar size, and it’s interesting to see how their stats compare after both their rookie seasons. Nowitzki played 47 games his rookie season, averaging 8.2 points per game and 3.8 boards in 20.4 minutes. Wagner’s averages are lower than Dirk’s were, but he also played half the time that Nowitzki did. It will be very interesting to see how Wagner adapts to his expanded role with the Wizards.