Most Improved Player – Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
If you watched any of the FIBA World Cup this summer, then you are definitely familiar with Germany’s Franz Wagner. He was a key reason why the Germans knocked off the United States in the Semifinals en route to winning the country’s first FIBA Gold Medal. At the conclusion of the tournament, Wagner was named to the All-FIBA World Cup 2nd Team.
Wagner is a 22-year-old wing out of the University of Michigan, where his brother Moritz Wagner attended and player before him. Oddly enough, the brothers are now teammates on a young and exciting Orlando Magic team that also has the reigning Rookie of the Year in Paolo Banchero on its roster.
Paolo was the focal point of the Magic’s offense and rightfully so as he came into the NBA with a physicality and stature that was prepared for professional defenders. Wagner is no slouch though. In just his second season, Franz averaged 18.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while starting every game he was available for the Magic. He produced this output while shooting 48.5% from the field and 36.1% from three-point range.
The year before, in Wagner’s first season in the league, he was a no-brainer selection for the First Team All-Rookie roster. Looking ahead, we have seen a number of young players have a big jump between their second and third seasons in the league. We as Sixers fans do not have to look further than Tyrese Maxey here in the City of Brotherly Love.
Wagner paired with Banchero has the makings of a strong foundation for a franchise that has struggled to find success since the prime Dwight Howard days. Magic fans can have hope though with the core of young talent on this roster.