The ongoing FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 witnessed a significant shift in Germany’s frontcourt rotation due to Franz Wagner’s unfortunate ankle injury. The emerging third-year NBA forward showcased his skills with an impressive performance, recording 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists during their opening-day victory against Japan at the Okinawa Arena. However, it was in that very game that he suffered the injury, sidelining him and relegating him to a spectator’s role.
The injury also dashed the hopes of witnessing the Wagner brothers, Franz and Moritz, team up for Germany in a FIBA competition. Although they have already shared the court for the Orlando Magic for two seasons, their synergy on the international stage was yet to be fully realized.
Moe Wagner, who signed with the Magic in April 2021, months before his younger brother was drafted eighth overall by the same team, lamented the setback, acknowledging that injuries are an unfortunate part of the game.
Despite the doubts that arose when Germany found themselves down a key player, Coach Gordie Herbert and the team rallied, showcasing their resilience. The squad’s success has been attributed to the collective effort of the other 11 players stepping up in Franz’s absence.
The team, which secured the bronze medal at the 2022 EuroBasket, remains undefeated through five games in the World Cup. Following their victory over Japan, they triumphed against Australia and Finland, securing the top seed in Group E. They continued their winning streak by defeating Georgia and previously unbeaten Slovenia in the Second Round, securing a spot in the Quarter-Finals in Manila.
Dennis Schroder’s exceptional performance has been a highlight of the tournament for Germany, but their success goes beyond one individual. The team’s record is built on a well-balanced offensive attack. In their 100-73 victory over Georgia, six players scored in double figures, showcasing their depth and versatility.
Germany’s effective and balanced offense is reflected in their statistics. They are shooting at an impressive 52.4 percent from the field, including a 39.1 percent three-point shooting rate. Their free throw accuracy stands at 73.2 percent. Additionally, their ball-sharing prowess is evident with an average of 25.4 assists per game, ranking them third in the tournament.
Franz Wagner attributes their success to the team’s cohesion, emphasizing the mix of young talents like himself and experienced players who have been competing at the highest level for years.
While any lingering uncertainties should be dispelled by now, Germany, particularly Moe Wagner, remains hopeful of regaining their complete 12-man roster, especially with the Final Phase commencing at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.