A pair of Wolverines were drafted into the NBA on Thursday.
The Orlando Magic selected former Michigan wing Franz Wagner with the 8th pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft. He becomes the highest-drafted Michigan player since Nik Stauskas went eighth overall to the Kings in 2014.
Wagner earned All-Big Ten second team honors this past season for the Wolverines, averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He excelled as one of the nation’s premier wing defenders, often utilizing his 6-foot-10 frame to jump passing lanes and fluster small opponents on the perimeter.
In Wagner, the Magic certainly know they are getting a potential game-changing defensive player; his offense, meanwhile, remains a work in progress but should improve vastly under NBA tutelage. Wagner took a noticeable step forward during his sophomore season as a playmaker and will look to develop a more consistent jump shot.
Wagner now boasts family bragging rights, as well. He was selected 17 spots earlier than his older brother, Moritz, whom the Lakers nabbed with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Wagner will now join his brother, who plays for Orlando.
Isaiah Livers had to wait a little longer to hear his name called, but he won’t be traveling far from home. The former Michigan forward was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 42nd pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft.
Livers played four seasons for the Wolverines, though his last two were derailed by injury. A stress fracture in his foot truncated his senior season and cast doubt over his NBA Draft stock, eliminating any chance that he would be taken in the first round.
Still, should Livers be able to stay on the court, the Pistons are getting a 6-foot-7 forward who projects as a capable next-level player. Livers shot over 40% from beyond the arc in each of his last three seasons, including at a 43.1% clip as a senior. On defense, his versatility enables him to defend at multiple positions.
Livers averaged 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game last year during his senior season.