Washington Wizards: Is the secret out about Davis Bertans?

Washington Wizards Davis Bertans (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Davis Bertans (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Defenses are starting to catch on and the days of open three-point shots might be over for Davis Bertans.

Pascal Siakam, Devonte’ Graham, and Brandon Ingram are all towards the top of the way-too-early Most Improved Players lists. And for good reason. But no conversation about the most improved or most surprising players is complete without mention of Davis Bertans.

Hot(test) Start

Bertans has taken over the NBA by coupling his calm, unassuming appearance with an absolute flamethrower from beyond the three-point range. Once Bertans steps on the court, he’s in range.

Now enjoying a larger role than he ever had with the San Antonio Spurs, Bertans is off to the best season of his career. Per Basketball-Reference, Bertans is posting career-highs in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field-goal percentage and three-point percentage.

He’s currently one of just four NBA players to have made 90 or more three-pointers thus far this season (James Harden, Graham, Buddy Hield) and has a better three-point percentage than all of them.

If he maintains his current pace of 3.9 three-pointers made each game, Bertans will finish the season with 319 total made three-pointers. The only other players in NBA history to make over 300 threes in a season are Stephen Curry and James Harden.

Is Bertans Cooling off?

Bertans has had a red hot start and better be participating in the three-point contest during All-Star weekend. But against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Latvian Laser came crashing down to earth pretty hard.

Coming into the game versus the Grizzlies, Bertans had scored in double figures in 12 of the team’s last 13 games. Before taking the floor in Memphis, he was averaging 23.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from three.

In the loss to Memphis, though, Bertans had just nine points and two rebounds. His shooting percentages were even less impressive than his totals; 22 percent from the field and 17 percent from three.

Was this a fluke performance or a sign of things to come? On one hand, it isn’t Bertans’ first bad shooting night this season, and it isn’t even his worst. Not every night can be record-setting, so a bad showing once in a blue moon shouldn’t be too concerning. However, it was quite the departure from his recent net-scorching performances.

Plus, this wasn’t simply Bertans having an off night. Give Memphis credit for how they agitated the Latvian Laser, who was visibly frustrated in the second half. While Bertans enjoyed a decent amount of open looks to start the season, those are less common these days, thanks largely to his success this season. Bertans may have had a reputation as a good three-point shooter when he was in San Antonio, but now he has a “don’t let him out of your sight” reputation, and defenses are starting to adjust.

Memphis, knowing Bertans has a quick trigger and permanent green light, made sure to leave him little to no room whenever he got his hands on the ball. Their strategy worked and they held Berrtans under two made three-pointers, something that has happened only thrice this season.

Next. Wizards face inevitable question with Davis Bertans. dark

Early in the season, Bradley Beal was getting all the attention from opposing defenses, and he will continue to see double-teams on most nights. This offense runs through the all-star shooting guard. However, now defenses know they have to keep an eye⁠—and a defender⁠— on Davis Bertans, as well. Unless, of course, they prefer death by three-pointer.