The Smoking Cuban

2021 NBA Draft mock 1.0: Predicting the entire first round

2021 NBA Draft Cade Cunningham
Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
2021 NBA Draft Cade Cunningham Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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NBA Draft
NBA Draft Franz Wagner Mandatory Credit: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports

2021 NBA Draft mock #9: New Orleans Pelicans: Franz Wagner

Wagner took a significant leap in his second year at Michigan. He averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 block in 31.7 minutes per game. Wagner shot 47.7 percent from the field and 34.3 percent on his 3-pointers. Franz is the younger brother of current Orlando Magic forward Moe Wagner.

The 19-year-old struggled with consistency this season. His jumper is improving but still needs to be better. Wagner showed up and down intensity and impact on both ends of the floor in his second NCAA season. He had one of his worst games of the year against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. Wagner finished with just four points and virtually disappeared in the contest.

Teams will be intrigued because he is a 6’9 wing that can handle the ball, make plays, and shoot from distance. All of those skills are a work-in-progress, but Wagner has the potential to be a starter and impactful contributor on a winning team for the next decade-plus.

The Pelicans transitioned to letting Zion Williamson be their primary playmaker in the second half of the 2020-2021 NBA season. Adding Wagner gives them a shooter and capable tertiary creator that will improve New Orleans’ defense that finished 24th in defensive rating this season.

Next: No. 10