Bucks plan to be patient with rookie PG Nate Wolters
This is the 15th in a 15-part series running Wednesdays and Fridays profiling each Milwaukee Bucks player leading up to the start of the NBA season.
At this time last year, Nate Wolters was preparing for yet another season as the guy at South Dakota State University.
Now Wolters is tasked with adjusting from being the go-to player at a mid-major to a second-round pick trying to make it in the NBA. Playing time was scarce in the preseason and likely will be in the regular season, but Wolters will be afforded the time to grow as a player.
2012-13 stats: 22.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, 48.5 FG %, 37.9 3-point FG %, 81.3 FT % in 33 games at South Dakota State
2013-14 salary: $490,180
Last year: Wolters finished his stellar career at South Dakota State by leading the Jackrabbits to their second straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.
The accolades poured in for Wolters after his senior year, as he was the Summit League player of the year, was named third-team All-American by the Associated Press and was a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation's best point guard.
Wolters scored in double figures in all but 13 of his 128 games at South Dakota State, with all 13 of those games coming in his freshman and sophomore years. He's just one of four players in NCAA Division I history to finish with 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists in his career.
The Jackrabbits' offensive load was heavily carried by Wolters, and he finished as the school's all-time leader in points and assists.
This year: Wolters enters the year as Milwaukee's third point guard. Minutes will likely be hard to come by, as Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour will see the vast majority of playing time at the position.
The Bucks traded to get Wolters in the second round of the draft because they believe he has a chance to be a very good point guard in the league. Some may discredit his athletic ability because of his slender frame, but Wolters is a very good athlete.
Wolters can shoot the ball well, has a good handle and has the height to play point guard at 6-foot-4. His physical limitations could hamper him on the defensive end, especially right away. His development is going to be a process, but the Bucks have time.
With playing time expected to be scarce in the NBA, Milwaukee may send Wolters to the Developmental League at some point to get game experience.
From the front office: "(He's adjusted) like a rookie. It's just a little different and a little tough for them. It's just something they aren't used to. They go from where they were the man in college to where they have to wait their turn and learn. It's a process which a lot of players go through. He's handled it extremely well. He's asked a lot of questions. This kid wants to be good. He's doing all the right things to be good. I think he's going to be a terrific player. In time, he'll be one of those guys who put up consistent numbers night in and night out." – Bucks coach Larry Drew
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