16 days after getting drafted, former South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters begins his NBA career this Saturday, when his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks, open Summer League play in Las Vegas, against the Denver Nuggets at 9:00pm Central time.

It's been a whirlwind summer for Wolters, who traveled the country attending private workouts and combines to get ready for the draft.

Draft night itself was far from simple, as Wolters was drafted by Washington in the second round (#38 overall), dealt to Philadelphia, and then to Milwaukee, where he will stay heading into his first NBA season.

This week, NBA.com is profiling the Bucks and their recent history of making the most out of players selected in the second round:

Heading the list is Michael Redd, whom Milwaukee selected out of The Ohio State University with the 43rd overall pick in 2000.

Redd developed into an NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist, improved his points-per-game average in each of his first seven seasons  -- something only one other player in league history had done.

The late Bobby Phills, a former member of the Sioux Falls Skyforce (drafted 45th in 1991), Rafer Alston (39th, 1998), Ersan Ilyasova (36th, 2005), Ramon Sessions (56th, 2007) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (37th, 2008) had to play the waiting game before hearing their names called by the Bucks on draft night, but developed into productive NBA starters.

The article lists off several factors that don't bode well for Wolters becoming an established NBA star, but also chronicles the challenges the St. Cloud, Minnesota native has overcome on the basketball floor to get to this point in his career.

Among the obstacles:

  • A very small number of players from South Dakota universities having an impact in the NBA.
  • A lack of proven NBA talent coming from the Summit League.


But one thing Wolters has shown in his career is an ability to overcome odds and succeed at every level, leading his high school team to a pair of third place finishes in the Minnesota State Tournament, and leading South Dakota State to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments, despite getting little attention from Division I programs coming out of high school.

He’s hoping to prove it now in the NBA.  It's not where you start, it's where you finish.