One of the main positions the New York Knicks will look to improve through the draft is their point guard position. Right now the Knicks only have a first round pick. However, in addition to the 24th pick the Knicks are also expected to buy a second round pick. Could the Knicks buy a pick to select South Dakota State University Jackrabbits senior Nate Wolters?
Nate Wolters is a 6'4" (6’ 4.75” in shoes), 190 pound point guard with a 6’ 3.75” wingspan. He averaged 22.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game at South Dakota State University his senior year. Could he be the player the Knicks need to fill in their backup point guard spot and groom as their future starter?
Tony Williams of NJ.com reports Wolters believes the Knicks could be a great landing spot for him.
"They like to spread the floor out and shoot a lot of 3s, so I think I’d fit in perfectly. This would be a great fit. Jason Kidd just retired and Raymond Felton is a solid point guard, so I definitely feel I can add to it. Hopefully I get the opportunity," said Wolters. "I’m really good with the pick-and-roll game and I know they run a ton of pick-and-roll. I can also spread the floor and get it to shooters. … I know I can also be a facilitator and I think it'd be natural for me. I can be more a facilitator than a scorer. It was necessary for me to score in college, so I had to put up a lot of shots. But I think my natural position is passing point guard and making others around me better."
Wolters establishing himself as one of the top mid major players in the country during his time at South Dakota State. He scores at a high rate but prides himself at being a pass-first point guard.
Howie Kussoy of the New York Post reports Wolters believes he can fit right in and take less of a scoring role if he were a member of the Knicks.
“I think I’m more of a facilitator than a scorer, really,” Wolters said. “Just out of necessity it was for me to score in college, so I had to put up a lot of shots, but I think my natural position is just a passing point guard who makes players around me better.”
In college Wolters showed an impressive all around skill set on the offensive end. He has some very good ball handling skills, a good feel for the game and scoring instincts. He plays under control and understand the importance of pace. He's also creative with the ball in his hands and keeps his dribble alive.
Wolters does a good job of keeping his head up while dribbling which gives him very good vision. As a result, he has wonderful passing ability and ability to find the open man. He tends to find his teammates in rhythm during half-court sets. Wolters is also well versed in running isolation plays and pick and rolls since they were a large part of South Dakota State's offense.
Wolters has a quick first step and is very adept at changing speeds. He can score using his jump shot or by driving to the basket. He has a floater shot, attacks the basket and gets to the free throw line. Plus, he's a very good free throw shooter. He's also improved as a deep threat.
There's very little doubt that Wolters can play but playing at the lower level of play at a mid major school has left some scouts wondering how his game will translate to the next level. On top of that, his wingspan isn't impressive, he lacks ideal strength and doesn't have the speed or explosiveness scouts usually look for at the point guard position.
His physical limitations don't affect him as much on the offensive end as it does on the defensive end of the court. He's a tough player who plays with intelligence but his lack of lateral quickness could hurt him while trying to cover NBA guards.
“I think I showed that in the season a little bit when we played the top guys, like Trey Burke [of Michigan], I was able to keep him in front,” said Wolters, who helped limit the National Player of the Year to six points on 2-of-12 shooting in the NCAA Tournament. “That’s something I’ll continue to work on. Defense is more just an effort thing and toughness, so I’m going to bring that.”
Wolters is very skilled and has an excellent feel for the game, especially for a player projected as a second round pick. If he's able to stay in front of NBA point guards and create off the dribble against NBA level defenders he could be a steal in the second round in the 35-45 selection range.