Washington Wizards: For Davis Bertans, shooting percentage doesn’t tell the whole story

Washington Wizards Davis Bertans. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Davis Bertans. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Davis Bertans is shooting a similar percentage as last season. So why does it feel like he’s been a lot less impactful for the Washington Wizards?

Davis Bertans was priority number one for the Washington Wizards last offseason. When they signed him to a five-year, $80 million deal, most fans were fairly happy; the Wizards didn’t lose him in free agency for nothing not did they immensely overpay. But Bertans hasn’t delivered for the Wizards since signing for the big bucks.

This season, Bertans has missed 12 games and hasn’t always been 100 percent while on the floor. Of the 38 games Bertans has played, more than a few have been while under a minutes restriction, including each of his last three games.

However, Bertans has still been good from three-point range, at least percentage-wise. This season, Bertans is hitting 39.5 percent of his three-point attempts while taking 7.4 attempts per game. It’s a bit of a dip from last year’s averages — 42.4 percent on 8.7 attempts per game –, but it’s still among the best in the NBA.

Davis Bertans is still one of the NBA’s best sharpshooters. The shooting percentage is there. But what about the volume?

Among bench players (no more than five starts this season) who attempt at least five three-pointers per game, Bertans ranks third in three-point percentage. He trails only Malik Monk (42.4 percent on 5.2 attempts) and Danilo Gallinari (40.3 percent on 5.2 attempts per).

Not bad. However, among all players (starters and non-starters) who average at least five three-pointers per game, Bertans ranks 32nd. He’s smack between Tim Hardaway and Gary Trent. That company paints a more accurate and less flattering picture of how impactful he’s been this season.

Those numbers don’t exactly tell the whole story, though. Bertans’ rough first month and a half of the season overshadows how efficient he has been this season. Bertans missed training camp, missed the first few games, and then looked obviously out of shape as he used NBA games like preseason workouts. But by the time February rolled around, Bertans was more or less back.

If you only look at Bertans from February 1 on, you start to feel much better about the massive contract the Wizards gave him just a few months ago. Since then, Bertans has shot a blistering 43.5 percent from beyond the arc on 7.0 attempts per game. That percentage would rank seventh among players averaging at least five three-point attempts each game. This season, Paul George is the only player shooting at least 43 percent from three on at least seven attempts per game.

Percentage-wise, Bertans is still among the best. But he’s not having the same impact he had last season even though he’s shooting at a similar clip. The efficiency is there, but not the volume.

Through 38 games, Bertans has made five or more threes in just seven contests, or 18.4 percent of games played. Last season, Bertans made five or more threes in 16 of the 54 games he played, 29.6 percent of games played. That decline is far more troubling than the small dip in his three-point shooting percentage, especially when you consider how successful the Wizards are when Bertans makes threes in bunches.

This season, the Wizards are 5-2 when Bertans makes at least five threes. In the two losses (one of which came without Bradley Beal), the Wizards were outscored by a combined three points. Once Bertans gets going from deep, the Wizards are tough to stop.

Bertans is out there for one thing and one thing only. He is not out there for his reboudning, his defense, or anything else. Bertans is out there to make threes and make a lot of them. When he is making them, it makes a difference. So far this season, he simply hasn’t made enough.