San Antonio Spurs Draft

San Antonio Spurs: Franz Wagner adds needed playmaking edge

By Damien Bartonek
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Javonte Smart, Franz Wagner
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Franz Wagner brings intelligent decision-making to the San Antonio Spurs

What sticks out more than anything when it comes to Franz Wagner is the high IQ with which he plays. Off the ball both offensively and defensively, whether it be as a weak-side rim protector or a cutter to the basket, Wagner is effective and a constant impact player.

His strong play as a drop defender in the pick and roll would give San Antonio something that they were clearly in desperate need of this past season. Teams routinely attacked the Spurs' big men in those scenarios whether it was Jakob Poeltl or Drew Eubanks, but with Wagner on the floor, that won't be something other teams could exploit. While such a nuance may go unnoticed by the average Spurs fan game to game, it's something that will be key in the Spurs' future success.

His defensive play doesn't stop there, as he played some fantastic perimeter defense as well. Despite being at a noticeable athletic disadvantage, Wagner's IQ, footwork, and anticipation prevailed time and time again when beat off the bounce, but those times weren't many. His above-average lateral quickness is a nice surprise considering his lackluster athleticism in other areas.

Defensively, he'd be a necessary and potent addition to a Spurs unit that already has a sound rotation of athletic perimeter defenders, but the effort he gives as a weakside defender, as well as a pick-and-roll defender, provides much more versatility than what is currently available for the Silver and Black.

Offensively, as a scorer, he has room to grow as a shooter, but he's one that can shoot off the catch both when coming off a screen as well as a standstill shot. While shooting 34% from deep is not exactly that impressive compared to some other shooters in the draft, his near four attempts per game from deep placed him in the 78th percentile in volume alone.

As a willing shooter with room to improve, Wagner's 54.4 effective field goal percentage (72nd percentile) isn't something to scoff at. Given that he's active and intelligent off the ball, with a usage rate of under 20-percent, Wagner's production as a scorer primarily came off actions, cuts, lifts, and drifts.