In a Rookie of the Year discourse dominated by Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes, Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner is getting a bit overlooked. Mobley and Barnes are worthy candidates but so is Wagner, the eighth overall pick in last year's draft.
Wagner's two-way skills give him a strong case in the Rookie of the Year race. So does the following stat that shows his consistency: he is the only rookie to score double digits in 15 straight games.
The only NBA rookie this season to post 15 consecutive games scoring 10+ points…
🪄 Franz Wagner 🪄 pic.twitter.com/vT3mR4bQMq
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) December 24, 2021
Wagner has had his share of impressive games and overall solid play, which should give him some buzz amongst the NBA landscape. He is averaging 14.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists and has appeared in all of Orlando's 32 games to this point. In the month of December, he has been really shining.
Franz Wagner in the month of December:
87.1% FT pic.twitter.com/jTGq38HX9D
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 22, 2021
The Magic may not win many games this year — they have won just seven so far, the second-fewest in the Eastern Conference — but that doesn't mean this season isn't important for them. Giving Wagner and other young players the green light will allow them to develop their skills and comfort at the NBA level quicker. While his on-ball scoring repertoire wasn't seen as his greatest asset as a prospect, Wagner has shown he has some slick moves in his arsenal.
Franz Wagner is doing cone drills in the live game 🔥
Making it look too easy! 👀pic.twitter.com/3N7qA5B0Aq
— Magic Nation (@MagicNationCP) December 23, 2021
Whether Wagner will garner serious attention for Rookie of the Year is up to voters in the media. Even if he doesn't, he can still have a great rookie season.
Jalen Suggs, the fourth overall pick in last year's draft, was perceived to be the key player for the Magic's rebuild. He still very well could be, but Wagner's strong play and continuing improvement show he can be one as well.