Orlando Magic Rookie Franz Wagner Surges to No. 1 in NBA Rookie Rankings to Close Out 2021

By  //  December 30, 2021

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scored career high 38 points Tuesday against Milwaukee

ABOVE VIDEO: Franz Wagner hangs career-high 38 points on the Bucks.

(NBA.COM) – It hardly is the silver lining anyone was looking for as the NBA tried to beat back and dodge as best it could the surging number of positive virus tests and resulting absences in its ranks.

But the sweeping need for sheer manpower to fill vacated rotation spots has opened opportunities for a bunch of rookies who otherwise might have continued their first-year development sitting and watching.

What the virus boom has meant to G Leaguers and retired NBA veterans in terms of suddenly, if temporarily, available roster spots, it has served to boost game experience and reps for newcomers who heretofore didn’t rank among the Class of 2021’s elite.

If showing up truly is 90% of life, then the Orlando Magic’s rookie wing continues to pace the Class of 2021.

Wagner scored more points last week (58) than the other Top 4 rookies on this Ladder combined and nearly matched them in total minutes – and that’s without counting his big night Tuesday vs. the Bucks (career-best 38 points).

He has been this rookie crop’s iron man with 35 appearances and has logged 1,100+ minutes before any of the others have reached 1,000. He fills a real position of need for the Magic, with lead roles at both ends.

With only Thursday’s rematch vs. Milwaukee to go in December, Wagner’s 19.5/5.3/3.3 in 13 games should serve him well in East Rookie of the Month consideration.

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