San Antonio Spurs Draft

San Antonio Spurs: 5 Best Defenders of the 2021 NBA Draft

Usman Garuba - Real Madrid v RETAbet Bilbao - Basket Liga ACB
Usman Garuba - Real Madrid v RETAbet Bilbao - Basket Liga ACB / Sonia Canada/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Franz Wagner - UCLA v Michigan / Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs Prospect 5: Franz Wagner - Wing, Michigan

To be frank, I've become increasingly lukewarm when it comes to Franz Wagner. Don't get me wrong, I think that he'll be able to come into the league and at least be serviceable even if it takes a couple of developmental years. That said, I have several concerns about his offense and I doubt he ever lives up to the frequent Joe Ingles comparisons that have been thrown in his direction.

While many consider him to be a point forward, he isn't a particularly good scorer and I could see his passing taking a bit of a hit because of this when he comes into the league. While he could potentially develop better three-point shooting, especially given his good free-throw shooting, his mechanics are slow and he doesn't have a very high release point.

Lastly, while he's a decently fluid athlete for his size, I am not as high on his first step as many others and I think he'll have a great deal of trouble when driving to the bucket with the ball. Even if he does manage to make it past a good wing defender though, I don't think he's physical enough to finish through a lot of NBA bigs.

With all of this in mind, Wagner's saving grace is his incredibly versatile defense. He can defend the fast break quite well, utilized NBA-style drop coverage very successfully during the majority of his time with Michigan, uses his length well on the perimeter, and is a steal threat whenever he's even remotely close to the ball. Wagner's defensive package that he'll bring to the league is very impressive.

This unique skill set in combination with his IQ on and off the ball, his instinctual positioning and rotations, and his very above-average lateral quickness will serve him very well. If he can turn into even an average offensive player, Wagner could become a very good role player and have himself a long NBA career.

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