Moe Wagner, the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round pick out of Michigan, has enjoyed a good start to his professional career. During the Las Vegas Summer League, Wagner has showcased the talents that warranted the No. 25 pick in the NBA Draft.
Those talents could be vital to the Lakers next season.
Wagner has the ability to score inside the paint while also knocking down three-pointers. In fact, his game his somewhat reminiscent of Brook Lopez’s, which made the veteran big man expendable. Lopez inked a 1-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wagner is far more athletic than Lopez, and he will face several challenges at the next level–specifically on defense. However, his ability to stretch the floor, as well as run it, will be critical for LeBron James and the Lakers.
“I’m not going to change just because it’s the NBA,” Wagner said recently. “I’m the same player. I’m a confident guy. I’m just going to be myself, and I’ll be smiling the whole time. … If you don’t enjoy development and enjoy evolving, you’re not going to make it far.”
Throughout the offseason, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have loaded up on playmakers to function next to LeBron. Wagner is one of the few pure shooters on the roster.
The 7-footer gained national prominence when he carried the Michigan Wolverines all the way to the NCAA title game, where they would ultimately fall to Villanova.
In the modern NBA, Wagner serves as the prototypical big man. He will most likely claim a bench role in smaller, more athletic units deployed by head coach Luke Walton.
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