ESPN experts weigh in on Wolverines ahead of NBA Draft Combine

Andrew Kahn

In advance of this week’s NBA Draft Combine, ESPN basketball analysts Jeff Goodman and Fran Fraschilla, who will commentate the event, joined a conference call with media this afternoon. Here is what they had to say about the Michigan players who will be participating at the Combine in Chicago:

Moritz Wagner

Goodman: “The NBA guys I talked to said, ‘Moe Wagner, come back.’ It’s great that he played well at the end of the year, but it was a small sample size and they said, ‘He’s got good upside, but come back and become a better rebounder, become a better defender.'”

Fraschilla: “If you take away the 26 points versus Louisville and the good game against Minnesota (in the Big Ten Tournament), he did not play great the rest of the postseason.”

DJ Wilson

Goodman: “(NBA people) felt that he did more to justify testing the process (than Wagner). They felt like he could be (drafted) 25 to 40. But again, almost everyone I talked to said both should come back. Wagner a thousand percent. Wilson, if he comes back, they felt like he could play his way into the first round for sure next year.”

Fraschilla: “Neither (Wilson nor Wagner) is physically ready for the NBA. … DJ is really interesting because he’s the quintessential ‘3 and D’ big guy right now. He shoots threes and he’s got great length to defend. But even he got bullied inside. DJ could get drafted in the first round, late, but he ain’t playing in an important NBA game for at least a couple of years.”

Derrick Walton

Fraschilla: “Kudos to Derrick Walton; he had a monster season. He’s probably, likely a D-League player. But he shoots the cover off the basketball. … I just watched him give Juwan Evans fits and some people think Juwan Evans is a first rounder, and he could not guard Derrick Walton.”

For more information on where these players might get drafted, check out Dylan’s latest roundup. It’s worth noting, as Goodman did on the call, that second-round picks are signing guaranteed contracts with more frequency. As this NBC Sports article from last year points out:

“There’s already a school of thought that players are better off going early in the second round rather than late in the first, that the freedom to negotiate a shorter contract trumps the lower initial salary.

“Now, second-round picks can probably have their cake and eat it too – a higher initial salary and more freedom.”

  • bobohle

    If Wagner and Wilson do not come back some bad influences are getting in their heads I would tend to believe.

  • ChathaM

    Some of those comments touch on something I’ve been thinking a lot about since the end of the season. In both Wilson’s and Wagner’s cases, post-season performances seem to have played a big role in their analyst profiles. Had the team not absolutely gone off from 3 in the 2nd half against Ok St. in the NCAAs, Wagner never has that great game against Louisville. Had PJ Edwards not missed a key free throw in the B1G quarters, DJ would never have had the solid game in the final that he had against Minnesota. Some real chicken-and-egg stuff there, but it’s so interesting how others’ performances can open the door to opportunities.

  • Wayman Britt

    If they both come back to UM, boy is Sanderson going to be busy. Seems like all the NBA analysts say these guys need to add weight and strength and will probably tell them straight up. They both should come back hungry to gain weight and spend many hours with Jon.