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San Antonio Spurs: Davis Bertans already shining in G-League stint

By Rob Wolkenbrod
t September 2017, Fenerbahce Arena, Istanbul, Turkey; FIBA Eurobasket Group D; Serbia versus Latvia; Power Forward Davis Bertans #8 of Latvia in action during the match (Photo by Nikola Krstic/Action Plus via Getty Images)
t September 2017, Fenerbahce Arena, Istanbul, Turkey; FIBA Eurobasket Group D; Serbia versus Latvia; Power Forward Davis Bertans #8 of Latvia in action during the match (Photo by Nikola Krstic/Action Plus via Getty Images)
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After the San Antonio Spurs demoted Davis Bertans for the second time this season, he produced a solid stat line in his G-League debut for 2017-18.

Once the season started for the San Antonio Spurs, it became clear that Davis Bertans was on the outside looking in. His backup stretch four spot was gone, with Rudy Gay taking over and providing more offensive versatility. It resulted in just 6.8 minutes per game in five appearances, while Gay has received 20-plus minutes in every one of his, leaving the writing on the wall.

In late October, Bertans received his first demotion, along with Derrick White, to the Austin Spurs of the G-League. It was brief, as these two reappeared for the big club a short time later.

Days later, the Spurs sent Bertans and White down, again. This time, it led to an actual game appearance, unlike the previous day-long stint.

Bertans and White played for Austin on Saturday night, making their G-League debuts for the 2017-18 season. The latter, San Antonio’s 2017 first-round pick, only played 14 minutes and shot 2-for-7 from the field. As for the Latvian big man, he shined in his first dose of extended minutes since the 2016-17 season, posting 27 points on 9-for-16 shooting in 31 minutes.

.@DBertans_42 with authority ?? pic.twitter.com/eVYVaQn2Ln

— Austin Spurs (@austin_spurs) November 5, 2017

As always, Bertans took more 3-pointers than 2-pointers. He’s a stretch four to a fault, not crashing the boards as often as a coach may desire from a 6-foot-10 player. However, he did grab 5 rebounds, topping his 2016-17 season average by about 4. Throw in a blocked shot, and it became a successful stat line for the two-year pro.

As long as the Spurs’ main roster doesn’t have more injuries to its front line, Bertans will either remain in Austin or be on the back-and-forth train from one Texas city to the other. He won’t get past Gay, Pau Gasol or LaMarcus Aldridge. The best chance is Joffrey Lauvergne, who can do a variety of things on both ends of the floor. If head coach Gregg Popovich continues to like what he sees after the Frenchman returns from a right ankle sprain, it will only be another hurdle for the 2011 draft pick.

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On an expiring contract before hitting restricted free agency, Bertans may not receive the necessary opportunities to boost his value. If so, does that mean he accepts a potential qualifying offer or looks elsewhere for a better chance in 2018-19? That’s still months away but is worth wondering.

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