This is part two of a series leading up to the NBA Draft in which I identify players that may be worth Joe Lacob's ability and willingness to buy a draft pick. I do so by choosing players that are mocked to
go at the 20th selection or later by DraftExpress, nbadraft.net, and Chad Ford. The first player mentioned was Tony Mitchell, a power forward out of North Texas. Today's candidate is...
Nate Wolters, PG South Dakota State 6'5" 196 lbs.
Wolters may be one of the biggest boom or bust prospects in the draft. The only thing left to be decided for teams is whether he is leaning towards boom or more towards bust. To many, Wolters reminds of Jason Williams. He is a flashy player who has even drawn a few Pistol Pete references. His biggest problem is the fact that he played at South Dakota State. In his final year of college he averaged 22/5/5. Normally those kinds of numbers with his flashy style means a team will take a chance on someone regardless of where he played in college. Wolters has a certain lack of athleticism which makes NBA teams wary of his potential.
How he'd help: It's no secret that Jarret Jack was a big key for the Warriors this past season. Jack was an essential ball handler off of the bench that could spell either Curry or Thompson and take over more of the point guard duties. That is what Wolters would be asked to do. Maybe not to the extent that Jack did because Wolters would only be a rookie. Wolters is certainly unique in that he is 6'5" and is still a pure point guard. He can be a facilitator as well as a scorer off of the bench and could provide a rest for Steph Curry without the half court offense going down the drain.
Potential problems: Probably the biggest thing that stands out about Wolters is his lack of athleticism. He is not fleet of foot registering as neither fast or quick. He is also not very strong. If you liked the strength of Jarret Jack, you may not like Wolters as he is at the opposite end of the strength spectrum. If you were to look at Wolters' lack of foot speed and strength you would probably assume he is not a goo defender. Your assumption would be correct as he was not even a good defender at South Dakota State. Does that mean he could not be coached up to being a half decent defender and not a revolving door? Of course not. But he will never be a defensive stopper. Let's be serious though, Jarret Jack wasn't exactly Gary Payton either.
Where he'd fit in: It would surprise very few if Jarret Jack were wearing another teams uniform next year. With that being said, the Warriors will need another point guard off of the bench. Scott Machado ended last year on the Warriors roster but I'm not sure if he is the guy, at least not without competition. Kent Bazemore is going to be seeing time at PG in the summer league, but I think that would be for limited minutes in limited games and mostly because of his defense. While a veteran may be safer, Wolters can come in and compete for time at the back up PG spot. Head coach Mark Jackson is not afraid to play rookies if they prove they are worth the minutes.
Conclusion: Nate Wolters is a player that can easily be had in the later stages of the first round. Usually small school prospects shoot up boards because of their athleticism. This is not an option for Wolters. I believe he is worth a shot late in the first. If he develops nicely, we are talking about a pure point guard with flash and passing ability who stands at 6'5". He would be one of the more unique back-ups in the NBA. If he doesn't pan out, then he is a late first rounder, and those picks often don't work out. He would at depth in an area where the Warriors need it, and may just stick in the league for a long time.