Dāvis Bertāns is a 26 year-old, 6’10” forward from Valmiera, Latvia with more than 12 years of experience playing professional basketball. Bertāns came from an athletic family where both of his parents were sports teachers – his father being a professional basketball player as well. Bertans was drafted in 2011 (42nd overall) by the Indiana Pacers and was eventually dealt to the San Antonio Spurs in the Kawhi Leonard – George Hill trade. However, Bertāns did not play his first NBA game for the Spurs until 2016, similar to Tomáš Satoranský’s situation in Washington. Bertāns is a career 40.4% on 3’s on 3.5 attempts per game (42.9% on 4.4 attempts in 2018-19). FYI, Bertāns has only 9.5 fingers due to a wood-cutting incident at age 13.
Bertāns was a solid, healthy role player for the 48-win Spurs last year – playing 21.5 minutes a game, averaging 8.0/3.5/1.3 on 45/43/88 shooting. Bertāns shot 28/48 (58.3%) from the corner 3 areas last year, and 117/287 (40.8%) from above the break – much higher than the Wizards’ 229/627 (36.5%) and 700/2091 (33.5%). The Spurs never wanted to let Bertāns go. However, after Marcus Morris reneged on his decision to sign a 2-year deal with the Spurs, San Antonio was forced to move Bertāns in order to create space to sign DeMarre Carroll. Washington used it’s $8.6M trade exception to acquire Bertāns.
Expectations for this year’s role
The team has selected to start Isaac Bonga and Rui Hachimura over Bertāns at the 3 and the 4 positions, respectively. Due to the injuries to Troy Brown Jr., and C.J. Miles, it seems as if Bertāns may be the one of the first players off the bench for Washington, and he should play more minutes than expected prior to those injuries. However, once Brown Jr. and Miles return, it should be expected that Bertāns’ minutes go down to a number similar to what he played in San Antonio (~20 minutes).
Bertāns should immediately add spacing and a much-needed 3 point shooting threat to this team as he was the #1 corner 3 point shooter last year at 28/48 (58.3%). The next best Wizards from that area are Mike Scott, Otto Porter Jr., Jabari Parker, Trevor Ariza (all no longer with team), and Bradley Beal – 38/90 (42%). Going forward, it should be noted that Bertāns would be an extremely attractive asset with a decent price for a team with championship aspirations who believe they could be a few pieces or shooters away from seriously contending. On the other hand, at just 26 years of age, it would also make sense to re-sign Bertāns on a team-friendly contract, if possible.
Davis Bertāns’ shoots the corner 3 (58.3%) at a better rate than All-Star guards Kemba Walker & Damian Lillard do in the restricted area (55.1%), and only 0.5% worse than that of James Harden (58.8%). To put that into perspective for Wizards fans, 3rd team All-NBA John Wall shot 58.6% in the restricted area during the 49 win, 2016-17 season.