The Washington Wizards received Moritz Wagner, a first-rounder in the 2018 NBA draft, for pennies on the dollar from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Wagner had a career-best performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. The 22-year-old became the first reserve to record 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Yao Ming in November 2002.
The most notable takeaway from his first stretch with the Wizards thus far, however, has been his prowess for drawing charing fouls. Wagner, who was on the other end of a controversial charge call while playing for Michigan in 2016, knows exactly how devastating such a foul can be for an opponent.
Washington coach Scott Brooks, meanwhile, recently told Candace Buckner just how important this has been to their identity (via ESPN):
“Mo is willing to get there. He puts himself in those positions. He’s thinking ahead of the play and that’s what we have to do as a defensive team.”
After 10 games, he has been on the receiving end of a league-best 10 charges thus far – including three against the Timberwolves. In fact, there was even a fourth called that was overturned and ruled a block.
His current mark would be tied for 16th-best among all NBA teams, meaning he has personally earned more charges than approximately half of the squads around the league.
Wagner, who does not play starter minutes for his team, is averaging 1.9 charges per 36 minutes for the Wizards. That is by far the best in a season from a player (minimum: 100 minutes) since NBA.com began tracking this particular hustle stat during the 2016-17 season.
For context: the big man recorded just two charges the entire season as a rookie for the Lakers. It has been a remarkable change of pace and something valued by Washington.