I know what many NBA critics will think in their heads after reading this title: “This writer must be insane! Players like Mo Bamba, Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III have way more potential then the 25th overall pick!” Loyal readers, HEAR ME OUT! I can almost 100 percent guarantee you that by the end of this article, you will at least think a little bit like me on this topic! Lets get this show on the road! Without further ado, here are three reasons why Moritz Wagner will shine in LA.
1. He can stretch the floor well
When I say stretch the floor, I mean, as previously mentioned in my Brook Lopez article, the player can hurt you down low, but also step out and take a three which causes defenses to move and get pulled in different directions, exposing weaknesses in the squad. Moe does this very well. For example, in the first three games of the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, Wagner shot 31% from the three point line, while showing he can grab the boards for them as well. Forward and Centers in today’s league are not often willing to take many threes, let alone make them. Stretch-bigs are getting very popular in the NBA and Wagner is no exception. As shooting is getting more and more important in the NBA, it will be a huge advantage for LA to have a big who can shoot at a consistent pace.
2. The roster for big guys on the Lakers is slim
After losing Brook Lopez to the Bucks earlier in the week, the Lakers’ center/power forward roster looks like this: Ivica Zubac, JaVale McGee, Kyle Kuzma, Channing Frye and Moritz himself. This may not look too bad, but Kuzma and Frye will play Power Forward, leaving Zubac, who was disappointing last season, and McGee, who I can see getting his spot replaced by Moritz within weeks of the season starting. This is, of course, assuming the Lakers play Wagner at center since they have numbers at Power Forward. Assuming the Lakers don’t make any free agency moves to bring in another big-man, it sure looks like Wagner will get more play time than many other rookies will receive.
3. He will be playing with the King
Many NBA fans and analysts alike believe that LeBron James often swallows up all the spotlight and attention other players could get when he joins a team, and they may be correct. In Moritz’s case though, I believe that if he puts on an incredible performance sometime during the regular season, with all eyes already focused in on LA after the LeBron signing, it will be largely noticed by the mainstream NBA media. Plus, you already have the added advantage of playing in the city of stars. Moritz’s loud and exciting character will make him fit right in with the LA fans and the “showtime” atmosphere that surrounds not only the team, but the city in general.
New Laker Moe Wager: “I’m going to buy in, work extremely hard to get better and give 100% effort. On the court, I provide energy. I stretch the floor with my shooting. I’m also a playmaker who can dribble really well. And I’m not afraid of the big moment.”https://t.co/q0s4TPfYhg
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 9, 2018
Of course, there is always the chance that Wagner gets swallowed up by the NBA life and finds himself in a strange and confusing time in the league, but the odds of that are looking slimmer and slimmer. Sure, the 21-year-old has categories he could work on, like his defense, but that can be fixed and developed over the course of an NBA season.
Even the Lakers’ Summer League coach, Miles Simon, had something to say about Moritz’s personality and effort on the court. Simon said,
“He plays with a lot of fire. A lot of passion. He’s always talking on the floor. He’s into everything that he does on the offensive and defensive end, and he’s truly so fun to be around because you know what? He does it with a smile.”
With a lot riding on Magic Johnson and his new star LeBron James, there must be an X factor to supply help to them. While Lonzo, Kyle Kuzma and others will try to assist, it may take one more piece for them to be taken over the edge. That piece could be Wagner. A least that’s what Lakers’ fans would love to happen. At this point, Wagner is a 50/50 shot for the Lakers, but which way is anybody’s guess. Of course, if all goes as planned for the young, German forward, he may be the second-best addition to the “Lake Show” this season.