San Antonio Spurs: Facing the fallout of Davis Bertans’ breakout campaign
By Dylan Carter
Former San Antonio Spurs forward Davis Bertans is breaking out for the Washington Wizards and the fanbase isn’t feeling great about his departure.
With the expectation that New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris would don the silver and black this season, the San Antonio Spurs sent Davis Bertans to the Washington Wizards in the early stages of free agency to make room for their new-look lineup. Instead, Morris ditched the Spurs and the team was left without its homegrown talent.
Now that Bertans is on a new team with a ton of opportunity, the Latvian Laser is putting up career-high numbers in scoring, rebounding and assists in roughly 29 minutes per game. He’s one of the game’s deadliest three-point marksman, hitting 45.2% of a sky-high 8.5 triples per contest.
The former Spurs fan favorite has made the third-most triples of any player this year (84) just behind Charlotte’s breakout second-year player Devonte’ Graham (90) and former-MVP James Harden (104). Furthermore, Bertans is hitting a higher percentage than both of those players.
Bertans was an unfortunate, yet worthwhile deduction when Morris was set to join the lineup in his place, but the Spurs fell victim to Morris’ unprofessionalism and ended up with Trey Lyles instead. This isn’t a knock against Lyles, whose been a helpful role player and a superb rebounder—his 26.3% defensive rebounding percentage is amongst the best in the league. With that said, this Spurs team would hugely benefit from Bertans’ three-point abilities this year.
Davis Bertans is on a pace to make 295 3-pointers this year. Here’s the entire list of players who have made that many in a season:
1. Stephen Curry2. James Harden
And that's it.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 6, 2019
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To make matters worse, the best player that San Antonio acquired in free agency, forward DeMarre Carroll, still hasn’t earned Popovich’s trust and is getting very few minutes.
Of every step along the way for the Spurs in recent memory—even the Kawhi Leonard fallout—this was the first time in my memory that this organization made what outwardly looks like a mistake. It’s a lesson learned for both R.C. Buford, CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, and newly-appointed general manager Brian Wright.
Not a great start for the team’s newest decision-maker, but you can’t determine a front office executive’s abilities based on his first offseason. Just as players and coaches need time to learn and grow, so do people within management. These circumstances weren’t his fault and this team is still competitive. Still, the Spurs are on track to miss the playoffs for the first time in over two decades and you can’t help but wonder how a shooter like Bertans would help a team whose biggest offensive downside is its lack of shooting.
Mistakes come with the territory because we’re all human, but there’s no doubt about it: Letting Bertans go was a huge misstep by this team and he’s proving that to the fans in Washington.