Heading into the 2018 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers had the Nos. 25, 39 and 47 picks after reportedly acquiring an additional second-round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers.
While there were plausible scenarios of moving up in the draft or including another asset in a potential Kawhi Leonard trade, Los Angeles ultimately kept all three picks and selected Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.
With president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka focusing on improving the team’s perimeter shooting for the 2018-19 NBA season, Wagner was an intriguing selection with the Lakers’ No. 25 pick as one of this year’s best shooting big men in the draft.
In Wagner’s third season at Michigan, the 21-year-old averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes. Most importantly, he shot 52.8 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from the three-point line.
When the team was officially on the clock with their only first round pick this year, Johnson made the call and celebrated their latest addition, who also attended Pelinka’s alma mater, via the team’s Twitter account:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 22, 2018
Shortly after being selected, Johnson and Pelinka officially welcomed the newest Laker to Los Angeles, via Spectrum SportsNet:
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) June 22, 2018
Immediately after the Lakers acquired another pick, Wagner was considered a target for the storied franchise. While he was expected to go in the early second round, Los Angeles has done extremely well in this area of the draft and likely saw qualities that were too good to pass up on.
With the 2018 NBA Draft completed, all of the attention shifts to free agency. Armed with cap space for two max-contract players, the Lakers are looking to end the rebuilding process by signing LeBron James and Paul George and possibly trading for Leonard.
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