5 things we learned from the Orlando Magic’s FIBA World Cup run

Franz Wagner and Germany won the FIBA World Cup. Now we wonder what Wagner will bring home to the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Franz Wagner and Germany won the FIBA World Cup. Now we wonder what Wagner will bring home to the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /
2 of 6
Franz Wagner, Germany
Franz Wagner had a well-rounded game. But his fourth-quarter injury is the only thing that matters now. (Photo by Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP) (Photo by YUICHI YAMAZAKI/AFP via Getty Images) /

5 things we learned from Orlando Magic’s FIBA World Cup

The Next Franz Wagner Leap

The place to start is at the top. And for the second straight year, we are leaving the summer of FIBA basketball believing Franz Wagner is on the cusp of stardom.

There are just so many things Wagner does that just seem to fit perfectly into whatever a team needs him to do. He makes an impact in so many roles. It honestly feels like the only thing missing from Wagner is an understanding of how to do even more.

Wagner missed a good chunk of time in this tournament because he sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter of the first game. But he did return for the quarterfinal matchup against Latvia and then shined in Germany’s big win over the United States.

He averaged 16.8 points per game in his four appearances, shooting 21 of 49 (42.9 percent). It was not his finest or most efficient shooting performance. Certainly not what Magic fans have come to expect from him.

But Wagner was plenty willing to attack and try to score around the basket. And he still got his production in.

Wagner showed growth in a lot of areas we have called for him to improve on.

Wagner averaged 5.5 free throw attempts per game, making 19 of 22 in his four games. That is a full free throw per game more than he averaged last year.

Along with his uncharacteristically poor 6-for-24 performance from beyond the arc, Wagner was not overly efficient. But he still posted a 57.1 percent true shooting percentage (he was at 58.9 percent true shooting percentage last year). Wagner proved he could still be effective and make things happen when he was not even shooting particularly well.

And that only adds to the other areas he contributed.

Wagner averaged 6.5 rebounds per game during the tournament after averaging 4.1 per game last year. He also had 3.0 assists per game (compared to 3.5 per game during the regular season last year).

This goes on top of Wagner’s overall defense and his ability to fill in and move the ball and make good decisions with the ball. It was good to see him try to force some action and look for his own shot on more occasions during this tournament. That is something he can easily scale back once he returns with the Magic.

This is all to say, there are clearly paths for Wagner to continue getting better. He stood out once again for Germany in international competition. And his ascendance and potential are becoming increasingly undeniable.

Wagner is going to be better in his third year. It might not look exactly how we imagine. But he is just too good at this point to ignore.