Name: Nate Wolters Age: 21 School: South Dakota State
Height: 6’4 Weight: 190 Projected Position: PG
2012-13 Stats (As of 2/5/13):
20.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.8 spg, 2.3 tpg (37.3 minutes per game)
46.6 FG%, 80.5 FT%, 37.4 3FG%, 58.2 TS%, 52.3 eFG%
33.0 AST%, 3.0 STL%, 11.3 TOV%, 29.0 USG%, 2.5:1 A/TO
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
Wolters is a smart ballhandler, using both hands well, and using a variety of dribbles to try and get the defense off-balance. Wolters protects the ball well, though he does have a tendency to overdribble at times, which eventually can leave him open to turning the ball over, especially against some pressure. He prefers to make his moves with his right hand to the right side, and if he goes left, you will usually see him look to kick it out to the perimeter. He doesn’t use a lot of speed, but he uses a good hesitation dribble as well as inside-out and crossovers to create space.
Wolters is a very good shooter, both off the catch and off the dribble. He has a fluid shooting motion with a quick release, good lift from his legs, and he does a strong job getting square to the basket. His release point is a little low which leads some of his jumpers to have a line drive look to them, but he finds ways to get his shot off easily against defensive closers. He has a good range, out to the NBA 3-point line, and there is little doubt he can his jumper beyond the NBA line.
Wolters doesn’t have a great speed, but he still is very good at getting to the lane or attacking the basket from different spots on the court. Wolters loves to use high screens to create separation, and he does his part by coming off them tightly without hesitation. He minimizes his dribbles and attacks from various angles, while also doing a good job protecting the ball with his body. He keeps his head up and can spot open teammates if he draws help defenders. He doesn’t shy away from contact and he finds various ways to get his shot off around the basket. He prefers to drive to the right side, and he is very good at finding angles to the basket. Once he gets by his man on the perimeter, he has a very good mid-range jumper which he can get off quickly. At times, he needs to watch over-penetrating and getting caught without a good shot or pass to make.
Wolters has excellent court vision and does a good job keeping his head up at all times looking for open teammates. He has become a very good post entry passer, finding a variety of ways (bounce pass, over the top, different angles) to feed his teammate. While he doesn’t force many bad passes, he needs to watch getting caught in spots where he doesn’t have a good pass option. Wolters continues to improve his reads in pick-and-roll situations and he does a very good job getting the ball to the screener quickly when he is open. Wolters isn’t about making the spectacular play, but about making the smart play.
Free Throw Shooting
Wolters is a good free throw shooter, with a compact, repetitive stroke. Like his jumper, his shot doesn’t have the ideal arc on it, but his skill and follow-through give his shot a chance to go in if it’s a bit off. Wolters does a good job getting to the free throw line, averaging close to 7 attempts per game. Wolters plays a lot of minutes, but he is still a strong shooter when looking to close out games.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
Wolters is an average defender, both on and off the ball. He gets good position between his man and the basket, gets low, has good balance and decent lateral movement. He doesn’t have great foot speed, and has trouble staying with his man in isolation, and he needs to react quicker to his man’s movements. Wolters does a good job trying to get over the top of screens on the perimeter, especially against shooters, but he needs to work on not getting caught in them and calling for a switch when unnecessary. Wolters has good court awareness and does an excellent job tracking the ball and helping teammates out. He needs to watch a tendency to focus on the ball too much and let his man create space. Wolters looks to close out on shooters quickly, but he has to watch falling for shot fakes too easily.
Wolters is a strong help defender; he anticipates the need to help and gets to the area quickly. However, he is often in good position to help because he either cheats towards the lane or will stray too far from his man off the ball. He has excellent hands and can time his steal attempts with precision, especially as a help defender. When he is on the ball, he is more conservative and won’t often look to get a steal. He has good court awareness and can anticipate passes and get into the passing lane quickly for the turnover.
Wolters is a good rebounder for his size, tracking the ball well and going strong after the missed shot. He has a good knack for where the miss will go, though he often finds himself in position to rebound because he has cheated too far away from his man on defense. Wolters is very good at corralling long rebounds and getting out on the break quickly. I would like to see Wolters look to put a body on someone to prevent getting beat by someone quicker to rebounds.
Wolters may not be as fast as many other point guards, but he is just as effective in transition. He pushes the ball up court quickly, keeps his head up surveying the defense, and makes good decision on whether to attack the basket, get the ball to a teammate, or if the defense lags off him, pull up and hit a long or mid-range jumper. With his shooting ability, Wolters can also run the wings and spot up for jumpers or attack the basket off the pass.
A lot of the talk will be about Wolters’ lack of elite speed or athleticism, but his skillset overcomes most of it. He is a smart point guard who can score in bunches in a variety of ways. More important, he is a tough player, a leader, and a winner. He has good size for the point guard position and he is capable of playing off the ball as well. There are some question marks on the defensive end, especially with his ability to guard in space, but the potential is there to be an average defender.
Draft Value: 2nd Round –Early-Mid 2nd – #38-46
Wolters is likely close to his ceiling as a player and there are some speed issues, but he makes up for it in skill, smarts and toughness. While it is likely he may not be chosen until later, or not at all, I still peg his value to be in early-mid 2nd range, meaning some team is likely to be getting great value if they pick him up late. I have a feeling coaches and teammates will appreciate him, and he will make the most of any opportunity he gets in the NBA.
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