While Washington Wizards fans await news on the fate of Scott Brooks, let’s take a look at one player who should be gone next season. It might surprise you since the Wizards are just one season removed from signing him to a five-year, $80 million extension, but Davis Bertans needs to go. It was fun while it lasted, but his performance during the 2020-21 season showed us that he isn’t what the Wizards need, especially not at that price.
Davis Bertans’s offensive deficiencies are too prominent.
While Davis Bertans shot just under 40 percent from three this season compared to 42 percent from last year, that stat doesn’t tell the whole story.
Bertans’ job is to come off the bench and knock down threes. That is (literally) his only job. And while he’s remained steady with the rate at which he shoots, his output took a significant dip this season. He went from 15 points per game to just 11 points per game. For a veteran whose calling card is knocking down the long ball, he needed to average at least 15 to justify that inflated contract. He also shot significantly fewer times this season than last season. Bertans averaged 11.5 field goal attempts per game last season. After signing his extension, he averaged just 8.4 attempts per game.
He also didn’t show up in the postseason. His dipping numbers plummeted in the five-game series against Philadelphia. In four games, Bertans scored only 37 points and shot under 35 percent from the perimeter.
In addition, Bertans created little to no offense other than his shooting. For someone with his size, he should’ve secured more rebounds, at least on the defensive end. But he averaged just under three rebounds per game during the regular season and playoffs.
Bertans barely creates opportunities for his teammates and averaged less than one assist per contest. Someone with that frame and ability to space the floor should have the court vision to put teammates in scoring position because of the attention his shooting brings. Teams have to scramble to run Bertans off the three-point line, which should leave them vulnerable. Alas, that doesn’t seem to compute. Bertans just hangs around the perimeter and curls off high pick and rolls. When he’s not hitting shots, he isn’t adding much, if anything.
Let’s not forget about Davis Bertans’s lack of defense.
Just because someone makes threes 4-10 times doesn’t mean they can be a bad defender. With his height, one would expect Bertans to offer some resistance on the other end of the floor. Not so with Davis Bertans. His individual defensive rating this year was abysmal (115.6). Sometimes his three-point barrages can make up for his defensive lapses, but not often.
If there’s anything the Wizards need to change going into next season, it’s an emphasis on playing better team defense (or any defense at all, for that matter). Bertans is the perfect example of a one-dimensional sharpshooter that hurts more than helps your team. Maybe if the Wizards had the right pieces around Bertans, they could hide him on the defensive end. But they do not, and we often saw teams exploiting his defensive deficiencies.
Three-and-D is more valuable than just Three. Davis Bertans is in the wrong situation because the Wizards need more defense ALONG with more reliable shooting. It can’t be a ‘pick your poison’ tradeoff.
While Bertans’ contract is on the expensive (and lengthier) side, shooting will always be valuable in today’s NBA. Someone will be interested in acquiring the Latvian Laser even if this was a “down” season for the sharpshooter. Shipping him to a team with a solid defensive core is sure to bring that team an offensive sparkplug off the bench, just not in the District.