As the San Antonio Spurs and Marcus Morris agreed on a deal in free agency, the Spurs would need cap space. Tommy Sheppard saw his chance and struck a deal. Moving Aaron White’s rights to the Nets and acquiring Davis Bertans the Wizards had a new sharpshooter in town. Everyone knew what the Wizards were getting with him as he shot 43% from three in his last season with the Spurs. Little did Wizards fans know he would become a fan favorite. With extended playing time and a fast paced offense he would shine. Bertans also known as the “Latvian Laser” electrified the crowd as he would look unstoppable at times.
For example, on December 10th when the Wizards played the Charlotte Hornets. Bertans would score a career high 32 points as he went 8 for 12 from three. After a step-back and-1 three pointer you knew that he was going to have a great night. It felt like every time he touched the ball he was shooting it and you believed that it was going to go in. The Hornets fans were in awe after every three and even the Hornets announcers were in shock of the shooting performance he was having. This game was a breakout one for him as he had every Wizards fans tweeting “B3RTANS” after every shot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SigF0sDf968).
Bertans numbers would skyrocket with more playing time and a green light offensive system coming off the bench. He went from 8 points per game last season to 15 points per game. Additionally, 4.4 three point attempts per game to 8.7 three point attempts per game, while shooting 42% from three. The Wizards had not seen a shooting big like Bertans and it was easy to see how he became a favorite with the fans.
In the light of a losing record and a big who could shoot like Bertans the trade rumors would begin. Tommy Sheppard repeated that he wanted to keep Bertans and re-sign him. This would not stop the trade rumors as teams like the Celtics, 76ers, and Rockets would show interest. Sheppard would stay true to his word after all as Bertans would not be traded by the trade deadline. In a normal rebuild situation the correct move would have been to trade Bertans for draft compensation. In the Wizards case Ted Leonsis believes the Wizards can compete sooner rather than later. Certainly adding a returning John Wall with Bertans will make for a fun pairing. John Wall has never played with a shooter like Bertans, and with Wall’s vision and Bertans shooting prowess the fans will be in store for some fun moments.
Davis Bertans would go on to represent the Wizards at all star weekend. He participated in the three-point contest and would make it to the final round. Unfortunately, he was eliminated in the final round posting a score of 22. It was nice to see Bertans earn some recognition for the remarkable shooting performances he would have before the all-star break. As all-star break ended Bertans had two more games of hitting 8 threes against the Heat and Warriors in March.
Davis Bertans is a free agent in the summer, but the consensus is that the Wizards are going to re-sign him. Tommy Sheppard deserves high praise for this trade in his first year as the Wizards general manager. Marcus Morris also deserves a thanks from Wizards fans as well for his part in this trade happening. I can confidently say that this trade was a win for the Wizards.