Final NBA Mock Draft Projections For Michigan's Prospects
Michigan Wolverines basketball will likely see two of its players selected during Thursday night's 2021 NBA Draft, with Franz Wagner being a first-rounder and Isaiah Livers projected as a second-round choice, while Chaundee Brown and Mike Smith will most likely sign as undrafted free agents.
Final buzz, rumors and, subsequently, mock drafts are being released ahead of the 8 p.m. start time for the event.
We did a mock draft roundup Thursday, but there have been several updates since then. Wagner, for example, was on the rise in ESPN.com analyst Jonathan Givony's latest mock. Earlier in the week, Givony had Wagner as going No. 9 overall to the Sacramento Kings, but has since moved him up to No. 7 to the Golden State Warriors.
"Wagner was selective in where he worked out during the pre-draft process, electing to skip the NBA combine altogether after an outstanding sophomore season that rocketed him firmly into the top 10," he wrote. He has continued to rise as teams have gotten to know him better on and off the court. It's difficult to find 6-9 wing players in his mold who can defend all over the floor, have strong shooting indicators and know how to play a role that includes strong passing ability and feel for the game.
"For the Warriors, Wagner represents the best of both worlds in many ways, a 19-year-old with upside to grow into who also looks ready to contribute and help a team win games. He doesn't have the type of ballhandling ability or explosive athleticism to project shouldering heavy usage or wow anyone with star-level upside, but players in his mold are difficult to find, which gives him a strong case to hear his name in this range."
If he is picked at No. 7, Wagner will become the highest-selected player who went directly from Michigan to the NBA since Robert 'Tractor' Traylor in 1998.
Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projects Wagner to go off the board at No. 8 to the Orlando Magic, while CBS Sports' Kyle Boone has him holding steady at No. 9 to the Sacramento Kings — which remains the most popular projection. Meanwhile, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie moved Wagner down from No. 9 to No. 11 (Charlotte Hornets).
"If Franz Wagner doesn’t go to Sacramento at 9 or Memphis at 10, I would not expect him to get past the Charlotte Hornets at 11," Vecenie wrote. "While they really need some size on this roster, a team looking to make the playoffs next year is probably focused more on bringing in veteran size, not some rookie and hoping he can play right away. There are a lot of people gushing over Wagner as an NBA prospect. He was a great defender at Michigan, and plenty of scouts and executives are adamant that will translate to the NBA level."
Livers is continuing to show up as a second-round pick. ESPN sees him going at No. 51 to the New Orleans Pelicans, Bleacher Report has him off the board at No. 52 to the Detroit Pistons, while The Athletic has him No. 54 to the Indiana Pacers and CBS Sports has him at No. 55 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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