Wagner brothers share ‘super cool’ experience in helping Magic back to playoffs

Moments after completing a postgame interview on the court inside Kia Center, Magic forward Franz Wagner had no choice but to embrace his older brother.

Moe Wagner, Orlando‘s reserve center who arrived to the Magic late in the season before the franchise selected Franz No. 8 overall in 2021, threw a towel in his younger brother’s face, hugged him and jumped on his back before quickly spinning off and into the tunnel back to the locker room.

It’s a cherished moment between a tight-knit brothers who have played basketball together since a young age in Germany and now the last three seasons in Orlando.

Their play is a key reason why the Magic are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2020 as a No. 5 seed.

“We grew up waking up at 3 a.m. to watch guys like Damian Lillard play in playoff games,” Franz Wagner recalled after the playoff-clinching win over Lillard and the Bucks on Sunday. “First thing in the morning, watched the highlights and stuff like that.

“For us to compete against these guys and now be in the playoffs, too, it means a lot.”

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Although it’s Franz who might get more attention of the Wagner brothers — he finished the regular season second in scoring (19.7 points) for the Magic — Moe quietly had a career year as well.

The Magic big man, a late first-round draft pick in 2018 who played on three teams before being waived by the Celtics, played in the most games of his career (80) and recorded personal bests in scoring (10.8 points) and shooting (60.1%). He ranked fourth league-wide in total rebounds off the bench (336), sixth in total points off the bench (849) and eighth in field-goal percentage.

But it was Moe’s hustle plays where he continued to wreck havoc on the court.

His 24 charges drawn were the third-most among all players while his box outs per 36 minutes (3.5) were fifth-most.

His scoring off the bench and contributions in the pick-and-roll with Joe Ingles and Cole Anthony anchor Orlando’s reserves, who average 41.5 points — the fourth-most bench points.

The first-round series between the Magic and No. 4 Cavaliers, which opens Saturday in Cleveland, serves as the first taste of postseason basketball for the Wagner brothers.

Their brotherly love resembles Orlando’s togetherness under coach Jamahl Mosley, who is in his third season after winning 22 and 34 in each of his first two with the Magic.

“It’s especially super cool with my brother but [also] the whole group,” Franz said. “We’re a super-tight group, and I’m happy for everybody.”

Jason Beede can be reached at