Those who are hoping Moritz Wagner sticks around for another season or two at Michigan, might be able to find a silver lining in the Wolverines’ loss last week to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen.
Wagner’s tough night against Oregon’s Jordan Bell in a 69-68 loss — the sophomore had seven points on 3-of-10 shooting, missing all four 3-point attempts, and five rebounds — might have given NBA scouts reason for pause, writes ESPN’s Chad Ford, who offered an NBA stock watch of sorts Monday for players in the Sweet Sixteen (pay site).
Wagner is among of group of players who saw their stock fall this past weekend, Ford writes, though the ESPN analyst says the forward still could be a first-round pick if he decides to declare for the draft.
“He had a much harder time against Oregon’s Jordan Bell (than against Louisville),” Ford writes. “Facing a strong, physical, athletic shot blocker, he often rushed his shots and seemed out of sorts the entire game. ...
“It’s just one game, but it definitely cooled some scouts who were adamant last weekend that he’s a lock for the first round. He still might be. He’s just 19 and has all the skills NBA teams look for in a stretch 4. But after Thursday’s performance, you could make the argument that he needs another year to add strength. There are a lot of Jordan Bell types in the NBA.”
Michigan’s D.J. Wilson also has seen his name bandied about in NBA draft talk, and Ford writes that the redshirt sophomore’s performance against Oregon left his stock unaffected.
“Wilson shot the ball well for Michigan, going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc against Oregon,” Ford writes. “He added six boards, two steals and two blocks and really showed off his athletic versatility.
“But scouts continue to question his toughness and his readiness for the NBA. Most think he needs another year of school. But if he declares, he's got a good shot of landing in the late first round to early second round.”
That’s, if Wilson declares. Both Wagner and Wilson said following Michigan’s loss that they haven’t given the NBA much thought.
Like Wilson, Kansas freshman Josh Jackson landed in Ford’s “stock neutral” category, though the Detroit native figures to enter the draft, where he is “looking like a pick in the 3-to-5 range, with a small chance of still going No. 1,” Ford writes.