On early Tuesday afternoon, the Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones reported that the Jazz were coming to terms on a two-way deal with veteran point guard Nate Wolters. This signing would mark the team’s final two-way contract as they acquired Eric Griffin to that deal back in late July.
This move would mark Wolters’ return to the United States after he spent the past two years in Europe. His stint in Europe began in 2015-16 where he signed with Besiktas of the Turkish Basketball League. With that squad, he put up 12.9 points, 5.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds and 1 steals per game on 44% from the field in 30 minutes per game. . His great play improved when he moved to KK Crvena Zvezda of the Adriatic Basketball League/EuroLeague where he averaged a respectable 8.1 points, 2.7 assists and .7 steals in only 17 minutes per game.
Prior to that, Wolters spent two seasons in the NBA which started when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 38th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. At the start of his run with the team, he was regarded as someone that can turn into a solid piece on a incredibly young Bucks squad. That status seemed to be set in stone during his debut season as he put up 7.3 points, 3.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds on 44% from the field in 22.6 minutes per game. Even though he maintained a below-average 49% True Shooting Percentage during his time with the club, it still was a solid year for a 2nd round prospect. that performance didn’t help the team stay out of the NBA cellar as they finished with a league-worst 15-67 record.
Unfortunately, that solid rookie year didn’t increase his role with the team Wolters further down the Bucks depth chart after the team added veteran guard Jerryd Bayless to work alongside starter Brandon Knight. That move obviously decreased Wolters role with the team as he only played 11 games with the team before being waived on January 9th so they can bring in Kenyon Martin.
Following that release, he was able to immediately catch on with the Pelicans on a couple of 10-day deals. That stint unfortunately didn’t last that long as he he was waived following the conclusion of his second ten-day after struggling during his rare moments of playing time. Subsequent to that, Wolters was picked up by the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive, where he immediately shined. In 12 games with the squad, Wolters put up 15.2 points, 7.1 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game on 50% from the field.
Hopefully for both the Jazz and Wolters, the veteran guard will be able to recapture that same magic when he returns to the G League to play with the Salt Lake City Stars. On his two way deal, Wolters will receive up to $75,000 to play during the entire G League season, a significant improvement over the $26,000 that the average G League makes. Coinciding with that, he could spend up to 45 days in the NBA with the Utah Jazz, where he would make $200,000 if he spends that maximum amount of time with that big league club.
As a member of the SLC Stars, Wolters could immediately stack up as arguably the best point guard in the NBA G League. That’s due to Wolters already entering the league as a young veteran that has proven himself to be able to produce on both the NBA and Euroleague level.
Although there are definitely some young and talented guards in the G League, there might not be anyone that has produced at the same level as Wolters. So while he may be starting out on a standard two-way, Wolters might elevate himself to a standard NBA deal if he’s able to stand out in the NBA. While we won’t be sure about that until the season starts in November, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is promoted to the big leagues this year.