Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner is making a strong case to be this season’s NBA Rookie of the Year. Here are some notable statistical achievements of his with less than two weeks left in the regular season.
HIGHEST SCORING MARK BY 2021-22 ROOKIE IN GAME
Only 16 times since 2010 has a rookie scored 38-plus points in a game. Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, and Trae Young are among the players to do it in this timeframe.
The most recent first-year player to reach that scoring mark was Wagner, when he scored 38 points against the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks at Amway Center on Dec. 28, 2021. He shot 12-of-20 overall in that contest, 4 -of-8 from 3-point range, and 10-of-10 from the free throw line.
The Magic forward, with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, is still the only rookie from this season to score that many points in a game.
1,000 POINTS, 100 THREES, 46% SHOOTING?
Through 76 games, Wagner has scored 1,167 points, made 93 3-pointers, and is shooting 46.6 percent from the field. If he knocks down at least seven more triples and stays above that 46 percent shooting clip, he will become just the third rookie ever to hit all three markers.
As of now, only Curry in 2009-10 and Jayson Tatum in 2017-18 have accomplished that in their first NBA seasons.
PLAY IN ALL 82?
As things stand now, only six players in the entire league have appeared in every single one of their team’s games. Wagner is the only one that’s a rookie. The others are Golden State’s Kevon Looney, Detroit’s Saddiq Bey, Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges, Dallas’ Dwight Powell, and Washington’s Deni Avdija.
Since the 2009-10 season, only 23 NBA rookies have played in all 82 games. The only Magic rookies to do it all time were Dennis Scott (1990-91), Penny Hardaway (1993-94), Chucky Atkins (1999-00), Mike Miller (2000-01), Dwight Howard (2004-05), and Elfrid Payton (2014-15).
MOST EFFICIENT ROOKIE IN 2021-22
Among the top 10 rookie scorers this season, Wagner is the only one shooting at least 46 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc.
He has shot 60 percent or better from the field in 14 games and 50 percent or better in 35 games.
MR. FOURTH QUARTER
So far, Wagner has scored 289 points in the fourth quarter, the most among all rookies. In the final frame, Orlando’s 20-year-old is shooting 48.8 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from 3-point range, and 84.4 percent from the free throw line.
For a big chunk of this season, the Magic were among the best fourth-quarter scoring teams in the league. Before the All-Star break, in fact, they ranked fifth in scoring that quarter.
JOINING EXCLUSIVE MAGIC COMPANY
Wagner has 16 20-plus-point performances thus far. That’s the fourth most by a Magic rookie ever. Dennis Scott had 16 such games in 1990-91, Hardaway had 29 of them in 1993-94, and Shaquille O’Neal did it an unreal 60 times in 1992-93.
SINGLE FOR A NO. 8 OVERALL PICK
Wagner is currently averaging 15.4 points. Assuming he finishes the season averaging somewhere around that mark, he will have the second highest scoring average among rookies taken eighth overall in the draft since 1997 when Kerry Kittles averaged 16.4 points. Ron Harper, drafted in 1986, was the last eighth overall pick to average 20-plus points in their NBA rookie campaign.