Dub Nation HQ Draft Tourney: #2 Franz Wagner vs #15 Isaiah Jackson

Versatile defender vs explosive rim-runner

The whole tournament is at 2021 Dub Nation HQ Draft Tournament.

Your mission is to decide which of these two you would prefer the Warriors draft at #7 this year. I’ll bring the scouting reports, you bring the vote.


Franz Wagner

Mock Drafts for GSW: The Athletic Staff, Wasserman, BR

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps.

  • Per 40. Jordan Poole, Tyler Herro, Brandon Boston Jr., Tyler Lydon, D.J. Wilson, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Donovan Mitchell, Gary Trent Jr., Zhaire Smith

  • Advanced. Tyler Herro, Jordan Poole, Chuma Okeke, Marcus Bagley, Omari Spellman, Zhaire Smith, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, D.J. Wilson, Devin Vassell.

NBA Draft Room Comp: Tyler Honeycutt, Mike Dunleavy Jr. Damn that is cold-blooded.

Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are

  1. Otto Porter Jr.

  2. Mikal Bridges

  3. Josh Green

  4. Devin Vassell

  5. Chuma Okeke

There is quite the array of rangy, multi-faceted, defensively-oriented wings here. This mold of player is highly sought after in the modern NBA, because it unlocks invaluable rotational/lineup flexibility. These guys can guard multiple positions, stay on the court in high-leverage moments, and ultimately catalyze winning basketball.

Kyle Boone, CBS Sports: Wagner can be an instant impact addition at that position, as he thrived for Michigan as a defensive specialist who can knock down 3s and provide support for the team's top dogs.

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Wagner has skyrocketed up draft boards in 2021. Why? His fit in the modern NBA is about as pristine as it gets. He’s a good shooter from distance with clean mechanics and strong percentages, having hit 39 percent from 3 this year. He’s also a smart cutter who really knows how to get free from his opponent and an overall good mover without the ball. And on defense, he’s absolutely terrific. His exclusion from the Big Ten’s All-Defense team was baffling, as he has absolutely tremendous off-ball instincts that allow him to make an impact rotationally all over the court. He uses his length and anticipation of what’s going to happen exceptionally well. And it’s not a situation where the stats don’t tell the story, either, as he averages over a steal and a block per game. The idea here is something similar to what Robert Covington provides.

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Wagner is an interesting 3-and-D prospect with real size at 6-9. His movement is terrific, with great lateral quickness. He can guard a variety of perimeter players on the ball, but his off-ball instincts are absolutely spectacular. He knows exactly where to be positionally, and his reactivity to get deflections is outstanding. The big question revolves around his shot, which comes and goes far too often. Sometimes, he looks like a legit 40 percent 3-point shooter in the future. Other times, he looks like a 30 percent guy and totally non-confident in the jumper mechanics. Whichever one he is will determine his career. If he becomes that high-level shooter, he’ll be a very high-level role player. If he doesn’t, he’s more in the vein of his brother, Moritz, as an end-of-the-rotation guy.

What they said: “They play man and then they’ll sneak in some 2-3 zone, and Wagner is great in both,” one Big Ten assistant said. “They play him in the corner of that zone, and you always have to account for him on the back side. It’s really tough to beat him cross-corner because he’s so solid with his technique closing out to shooters. And his length makes it tough to beat him off the dribble because he can move his feet. Then in their man-to-man, it’s the same deal. They use him on both scoring guards and on wings. And he doesn’t really get beat against those guys either. Part of why they’re so good on defense is that they give you different looks in terms of matchups and scheme.”

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Lamar Odom, Danilo Gallinari, Xavier Tillman

Impactful as a versatile defender and an offensive weapon who can be utilized in a wide range of roles.

  • Perimeter Shooting

  • Playmaking

  • Off-Ball Defense

  • Feel for the Game

PLUSES

  • Good spot-up 3-point shooter who can drain shots off one or two dribbles.

  • Unselfish playmaker who has great court vision for his size and the ability to deliver accurate passes straight off the dribble.

  • Rarely turns the ball over.

  • In some systems, he could be a major threat facilitating from the elbow areas, running dribble handoffs with shooters or serve as the ball handler or screener in the pick-and-roll. 

  • Coordinated and decisive scorer who attacks with a plan the moment he receives a pass.

  • Glue-guy skills on offense: keeps the ball moving, relocates, screens, and has innate timing on his cuts.

  • Does an excellent job of sealing off smaller defenders on the post, which could be of great value against switching defenses.

  • Has a computer brain on defense. Reads plays instantly and disrupts actions by beating opponents to their spots. He will make a significant impact as an off-ball defender throughout his career.

  • Reliable on-ball defender who’s stout against players his size, with the lateral quickness to switch screens onto some smaller players. Agility improved dramatically after his freshman season and could be enhanced further in an NBA strength and conditioning program.

  • Brother of NBA player Moe Wagner.

MINUSES

  • Lacks shake-and-bake moves scoring off the dribble, which likely limits upside as a go-to option. Also reluctant to drive or finish with his left.

  • Improving his off-hand would help his finishing at the rim, though he does compensate some with his swooping runners in the lane.

  • Not an above-the-rim athlete.

Hollinger, The Athletic: The younger brother of Orlando center Moritz Wagner, Franz is a very different kind of player: He’s a huge wing with unusually nimble feet for his size, capable of checking guards on the perimeter and busting out in passing lanes for steals. Wagner stands 6-foot-9 but had one of the better steal rates in this draft class; he’s the classic switchable defender teams covet.

Offensively, he projects more as a role player than a star. Wagner can shoot but has a low release point on his shot and hasn’t shown the footwork or off-the-dribble sizzle to be a high-frequency bomber. He’s good in transition and can attack in straight lines in the half court, where his size and stride length give him an advantage even on basic dribble moves. He’s also a good passer with a strong feel for the game, and he rarely screws up, resulting in a better than 2:1 assist-to-turnover rate.

The other thing Wagner has going for him is his age. Although listed as a sophomore, he is actually younger than several of the freshman in this draft class, including Barnes, Mobley and Suggs. He doesn’t scream outrageous upside, but the youth, production and positional scarcity all point to Wagner as an underrated player in this draft.


Isaiah Jackson

Profile from Sports-Reference.com

Wizzy’s Comps.

  • Per 40. Cheick Diallo, Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Harry Giles, Cole Aldrich, Brendan Haywood, Jaxson Hayes, Tony Bradley, Chinemelu Elonu, DeAndre Jordan

  • Advanced. Udoka Azubuike, Cheick Diallo, Joel Embiid, Quincy Acy, Jarrett Allen, Dakari Johnson, Robert Williams, Bam Adebayo, Jarred Vanderbilt.

Jon Chepkevich: Statistical best comparisons are

  1. Tyrus Thomas

  2. Nicolas Claxton

  3. Ed Davis

  4. Larry Sanders

  5. Mo Bamba

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: SHADES OF Nerlens Noel, Nic Claxton

Explosive rim runner on offense who has elite long-term potential on defense if he improves his fundamentals.

  • Athleticism

  • Shot Blocking

  • Rebounding

PLUSES

  • Incredible athlete who explodes off the floor and has the fluidity to cover a lot of ground and defend on the perimeter.

  • Excellent rim-protecting potential if his fundamentals improve since he’s such an eager and instinctual shot blocker. He can swat away shots using either hand.

  • Intuitive offensive rebounder who forces defenses to be aware at all times or he’ll take advantage.

  • Above-the-rim finisher who’s a constant threat to finish lobs.

  • Solid face-up game: He has a quick first step, and attacks aggressively off the dribble.

MINUSES

  • Lacks the necessary size and strength at this stage of his physical development. He’ll need to add a ton of weight without hindering his mobility.

  • Undisciplined defense. He often falls into foul trouble or out of position entirely when on the ball, biting on pump fakes or attempting to block shots when he should stay down and box out.

  • Defensive fundamentals are also lacking: prone to be attacked off the dribble due to his poor stance. Sometimes he makes up for it with his athleticism, but doing that in the NBA will be a whole different challenge.

  • Back-to-the basket scoring: Even when he seals off defenders inside, he lacks fluidity when turning around and putting the ball up.

  • Playmaking skills. He’s not a proactive offensive player. If his first move is covered, there’s a strong chance a turnover or sloppy shot will follow.

  • Still developing into a reliable shooter, which will be the key to unlocking his full potential as a face-up scorer.

Hollinger, The Athletic: Thought hard about Jackson but he's a pure 5, and with both size and skill issues that could hurt him at next level. 


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