Magic forward Franz Wagner reacts to winning Rookie of the Month

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
Magic forward Franz Wagner reacts to winning Rookie of the Month
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Orlando Magic
    Orlando Magic
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Jamahl Mosley
    American basketball coach and player

ORLANDO, Fla. — When Franz Wagner was named the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, the Orlando Magic celebrated the accomplishment as if the entire team had won the award.

The display by the Magic is a strong example of the culture and atmosphere that is being created, something that head coach Jamahl Mosley and the team want to continue to build upon.

The recognition, Mosley said on Wednesday, was well-deserved for Wagner.

It is such a great accomplishment for him. His body of work, his demeanor every single day, his professionalism, it just goes to the work and attention to detail in what he is trying to accomplish night in and night out. It is not just coming his scoring, it has been his ability to make the right play at the right time in big moments.

Wagner averaged 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 14 games during the month of December. He was the eighth rookie in franchise history to win the award and posted the highest December scoring average since Shaquille O’Neal during the 1992-93 season (20.6 points).

The eighth pick led all rookie players in scoring in December and has scored in double figures in 19 consecutive games, the longest streak by a first-year player this season. He also leads the class in 20-point performances with 10 such outings.

Wagner credited his teammates for enabling him to take home the award.

A bunch of people texted me and congratulated me this morning when they saw me. It was just really cool to see how excited they were. … It’s more like a team recognition for me, there are so many people that help me every day and I’m just excited to be a part of that.

The Magic have often credited Wagner for playing with a high basketball IQ and ability to make the right play on seemingly every possession. He rarely has rookie mistakes on the court and is consistently trying to improve on a nightly basis.

He has emerged as perhaps the top two-way first-year player this season. With his vast offensive repertoire, and ability to defend nearly every position on the court, Wagner brings quite a bit of versatility to the floor and that is on display each game.

Wagner attributes his fast start to plenty of film study and his work ethic.

I just try to go about my business in a professional way every day. I try to watch film as much as I can. Come to practice early and get my shots up and I think that consistency carries over to the games and, hopefully, it continues.

The fast start by Wagner has several players on the roster excited about his potential. From Terrence Ross to Cole Anthony, Wagner has impressed the team with his overall skillset. The group genuinely looks happy for each other, which has helped build a strong bond.

Wagner believes that chemistry can help the Magic build toward the future.

“It’s great to have the overall team chemistry that we have,” Wagner said. “It just shows that I think anybody on the team is really happy for everybody’s success. I believe that is going to carry on for a long time and it’s going to help us in the long run.”

The early display by Wagner has certainly been one bright spot for the Magic (7-31) through the first half of the season. The team is in the midst of a rebuilding effort as the season will be mostly in a developmental stage but Wagner has looked to have exceeded expectations early.

The early conversation for Rookie of the Year seems to be centered squarely on Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Scottie Barnes, but No. 22 in black and blue might just have something to say about that.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

Related

Franz Wagner joined Shaq in Magic rookie history with 38-point outburst

Magic: Jalen Suggs progressing 'slowly' from thumb injury

Terrence Ross explains why Franz Wagner is 'really good'

List

Rookie Wire Power Rankings: Franz Wagner boogies up to No. 1 spot