We're counting down the Milwaukee Bucks' most valuable assets one by one to get a clear picture of how Bucks fans view the current roster.
In the tightest race we've had yet, Nate Wolters was bounced from the roster in our ninth poll, edging young backcourt-mate Kendall Marshall by just four votes.
This is my favorite thing on Nate Wolters' Basketball Reference page:
What? How did that happen? Is that allowed?
Wolters started his Bucks career under curious circumstances. For many hours, it wasn't clear which team had actually acquired him. And even once the dust had settled and Wolters' ultimate destination became clear, Bucks fans weren't really sure what they had gotten. For all the accolades he picked up during his illustrious collegiate career, Wolters was a four-year player at a small-conference University, not the kind of prospect one typically expects big things of.
He surprised people from the start. When Brandon Knight went down shortly after tip in the Bucks' opening game, Wolters was thrust into a major role and proved more than capable of...well, of not embarrassing himself. The Bucks didn't take long to fall apart, but Wolters posted double-digit assists in his third game and showed a solid command of the offense immediately.
Still, it's very easy to consider the case closed on Wolters, even after one season. He's sometimes assumed, maybe stereotypically, to be incapable of adding anything to his game at this point, even after just one season in the pros. That might be unfair, since 23 years old is hardly washed up and there are a few areas where Wolters can reasonably be expected to improve, but his performance as a rookie was admittedly more "pleasantly steady" than "shockingly exciting." What's more, he's got a lot more company in the backcourt now, with new additions in Marshall and Jerryd Bayless waiting to siphon off minutes.
Those two elements--a lack of perceived upside beyond what he showed last season, plus a now-stocked roster of alternatives--are the primary contributors to an otherwise popular player being ranked relatively low on our list. Wolters is a nice piece to have on a dirt-cheap rookie contract, and he does seem like the type of player who will always provide steady production at a good value (especially considering his strong advanced metrics), but his value is tied up more in cost-effectiveness than true production.
Milwaukee Bucks Roster Asset Rankings
18. O.J. Mayo
17. Carlos Delfino
16. Chris Wright
15. Miroslav Raduljica
14. Zaza Pachulia
13. Jerryd Bayless
12. Johnny O'Bryant III
11. Ersan Ilyasova
10. Nate Wolters