Nate Wolters Finishes Strong, Adjusting to New Role with Milwaukee Bucks
Former South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters’ first foray into NBA play has been quite a departure from his high scoring days in Brookings, where he notched a school record 2,300 points with the Jackrabbits.
Playing with the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Summer League, Wolters has struggled to find his shooting rhythm, hitting just 6-of-20 (30%) through the first three games, heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Lakers.
And sometimes in life, things have to get worse before they can get better.
In the first half against the Lakers, Wolters took six shots, and came away with six misses, as his team trailed by as many as 18.
But then things began to click.
Wolters found his shooting touch in the second half, hitting 4-of-5, with a steal and layup that tied the game with 2:56 to play. He finished with 9 points, but the Bucks rally fell short, 72-68.
He also added five rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes.
After the game he talked with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his shooting:
I’ve been struggling with my shot all week.
It’s a little frustrating.
I didn’t think I played very good, honestly.
I can do a lot better.
I’m just trying to adjust to the speed of the game.
It’s a big difference.
But in the long run, it will likely be his assist numbers – not his shooting – that determines his NBA future. Something Wolters told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he’s well aware of:
I think they see me more as a point guard than a two-guard.
In college, I was a huge scorer.
That’s probably not going to be the case here.
Just come in when I’m called and get other guys involved and put guys in position to make plays.
I’m not super explosive or anything like that.
I’m just trying to be a smart player.
It’s the realistic existence of a second-round pick in the NBA: no guarantees of money or roster spots. Coming from an off-the-radar school like South Dakota State provides its challenges as well.
I think you do (have to prove yourself a little more) being from a small school.
It’s definitely a big step up to the NBA.
There’s been mid-major guys, especially lately, doing really well. Look at a guy like (Damian) Lillard.
This year, half the point guards were mid-major guys.
There’s an adjustment, but they’ll find you if you can play.
Wolters gets one final shot at Summer League play Friday when the Bucks play the San Antonio Spurs at 7:00pm Central.