Nate Wolters: Voss Up or Ish Don’t Think So?

Published: January 27, 2015

First of all, if you don’t get the reference in the heading, then watch three of the greatest minutes in comedy history.

You’re welcome.

And much like Paul Wilmot in the video above, Dell Demps has to decide very soon whether Nate Wolters is ‘vuss up’ or ‘Ish don’t think so.’ According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Pelicans can only sign Wolters to a ten-day contract twice in the course of the season. After that, the only way he can play for them again this year is if they give him a contract for the remainder of the season. Financially, it is not really an issue for the team, as Wolters would gladly accept a minimum contract, but the question is whether the Pelicans would be better served finding another point guard to fill the backup duties for the remainder of the season.

If you have read my articles or listened to the podcast, you know how I like to think of these situations. I don’t think of Wolters being on the team, and going with someone else being an act of letting Wolters go, then replacing him. Instead, I like to imagine all options are floating out there with the Pelicans not tied to one any more than another. From there, I try to examine all the factors including skill set, fit, and costs (including future costs and opportunity costs) before arriving at the answer. With that perspective in mind, lets take a look at the Pelicans possible options.

The Free Agents

Nate Wolters

After a surprisingly effective rookie season, Wolters struggled a bit in Milwaukee and he hasn’t exactly been impressive in his stint in New Orleans. We only have 7 games (and 94 minutes) of data to judge Wolters on with the Pelicans, but Wolters is not hitting his shots (35%), isn’t getting to the FT line (9% FT rate), and has an assist to turnover ratio that is less than 1:1. Basically, he has been a huge negative on the offensive end statistically and the eye test does not tell you that he is a plus defender. What he does have going for him is the fact that he is more familiar with the system and the players than anybody on this list. He also is young, talented, and cheap. There is a chance for improvement and a small possibility that he can be a long-term solution at backup point guard if he can get to his rookie level of play.

Jordan Farmar

If you could guarantee Pre-Clippers Jordan Farmar, he would probably be the best fit on this list. Farmar is a guy who can score at the rim and knock down the jumper out past the three-point line. He isn’t necessarily a good defender, but he is a smart team defender who could pick up a system quickly. Farmar, like many role players wight he Clippers of late, was underutilized and grew frustrated in LA. In their infinite wisdom, the Clipper released Farmar to make room for Austin Rivers. We already crushed it in that trade by getting Q-Pon for one of the worst players in the league. Imagine if we effectively got Farmar too.

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson was traded to Boston for Jameer Nelson, another guy Dell was likely considering, and the Celtics subsequently bought out Robinson. He won’t give you defense and he isn’t going to spend a lot of his time setting up teammates, but Robinson can give you energy and buckets in bursts. Robinson was terrible this year, but he was solid prior to getting injured the year before and he was nothing short of fantastic two years ago in Chicago. and in Golden State the year before that. There are a lot of solid rotation players on list, but Robinson is quite possibly the only one who can completely change a game.

Trade Targets

CJ Watson, Indiana Pacers

George Hill has recently returned for Indiana, and depending on what their goals are for the rest of this year, they could look to move Watson – who is in the final year of his contract. Watson is an above average three-point shooter who protects the ball and plays solid defense. He is a seasoned veteran without too many miles on his tires and he is a guy that is fine being a rotation player, and is not looking to be more than that. For all these targets, let’s assume a trade package that includes Salmons, Withey, and a 2nd rounder.

Mo Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves are gunning for a top-three pick at this point and Williams is not a part of their long-ten plans – so why not get something for him? Just two weeks ago, Williams exploded for 52 points against Indiana, and while that is not exactly what the Pelicans need, the threat of a backup guard who teams have to respect will open up the offense for everybody. Williams is also a smart, seasoned vet with 49 games of playoff experience and could be the type of piece that is the difference between being the 8th seed or the 9th seed in the West.

Ramon Sessions, Sacramento Kings

Sessions is another guy who is really struggling with his new team after playing well in previous stops. He is not a good three-point shooter, but he excels in one area that the Pelicans desperately need – getting to the free throw line. Over his career, Sessions gets to the free throw line more than Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday combined (per 36 minutes). A point guard who can come in and get the team into the bonus early for Davis and Anderson to take advantage of late in quarters could be invaluable.

Norris Cole, Miami Heat

Recent reports said that the Bobcats were looking into acquiring Sessions or Cole, so let’s imagine Dell gets into the mix. Cole has looked like a future star in spurts, but he has really struggled this year with Lebron gone. He is an intense defender who can get hot from the perimeter, though he is more of a mid-range guy than a three-point shooter. He is playoff tested and is still young enough to have some upside if the Pelicans want to put the time in to develop him.

Luke Ridnour, Orlando Magic

Ridnour is just a smart, craft vet and you know how Monty loves those! He has had some great three-point shooting seasons (including this year) and some terrible one’s, so you never know what you are going to get there. He can run an offense and won’t turn the ball over, though he does foul quite a bit. Not the highest upside on this list, but he probably has the highest floor. He simply isn’t going to hurt you and that is a big upgrade over what this team has had at the 4th guard position so far this season.

The Incumbent

Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer is on the roster, and the team could choose to let Wolters go and re-insert Fredette. If he was the three-point shooter that he has been over the rest of his career, that would be a solid option, but he just can’t hit this year. And the truth is that the coaching staff doesn’t seem to have much faith in him at this point. They couldn’t wait to give his minutes to Gal Mekel and Nate Wolters, just days after they were signed, and even last night, Monty put Salmons in the game before Jimmer. On the plus side, Jimmer knows the system better than everybody on this least and is loved by his teammates. If he could only hit that jumper….


Monty has given Wolters every chance so far to take this job and run with it, but he hasn’t done anything to keep Dell from looking for other options. There are some solid free agents on the market and a few more who can probably be had for cheap in trades. In this humble writers opinion, Dell should be working the phones to see if he can land Mo Williams or CJ Watson. From there, he should look into Farmar, and then move on to Ridnour or Sessions if he can’t get any of the other three. If none of those options work out, then you sign Wolters for the rest of the year, with a 2nd year unguaranteed and hope for the best.

What are your thoughts? Vuss Up or Ish Don’t Think So to Wolters? And who is your Double Vuss Up?


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