Free Agent Profile: Davis Bertans
The upcoming pool of free agents looks to be a shallow one. Just four unrestricted free agents scored more than 16 points per game this year, while only 13 exceeded 12 points per game. As a result, teams will lock horns to land anyone they possibly can. One player who will draw interest from many teams is power forward-Davis Bertans.
Davis Bertans: A Unique Free Agent
The Indiana Pacers drafted Bertans in the second round of 2011 but wound up trading him (along with Kawhi Leonard) to the San Antonio Spurs that night. The Latvian spent time playing overseas before returning to the NBA, where he’s spent his most recent season with the Washington Wizards.
Davis Bertans is special in more than one regard. His size and shape alone separate him from the majority of power forwards. Bertans stands at 6′-10”, but weighs only 225 lbs. Only seven other players in the league match that height while weighing as little. Among those players, none average as many minutes or points as Bertans does.
In 54 games this year, Bertans has averaged 29.3 minutes per game. In that time, he’s scored a career-best 15.4 points per game with a 43.4 percent field goal percentage. Most of these points come from behind the arc, where Bertans shoots 42.4 percent – seventh-best in the league. This type of scoring is unique for a big man; 77 percent of his shots are three-pointers, the fourth-highest among all qualified players.
A power forward who can shoot threes efficiently is special, and none do so like the 27-year old. Bertans specializes in catch-and-shoot three’s. In fact, he attempts 7.6 “catch-and-shoot” field goals per game, the most in basketball. That alone paints the forward as a unique scorer, but there’s more to tell. Per Cleaning the Glass, only eight percent of Bertans’ three-point attempts come from the corner. Corner threes are the easiest three to take, as it’s the closest to the hoop and doesn’t attract as much defense as the top of the key. This makes Bertans’ shooting all the more impressive.
Teams That Should Pursue Davis Bertans
There’s already speculation that Washington doesn’t want to part ways with Bertans. Bertans still owns his bird rights, meaning the Wizards can resign the big man regardless of salary cap obligations. The Wizards had a strong offense this year, largely in thanks to Bertans. With John Wall hopeful to rejoin Bradley Beal on the court, Davis Bertans would give the Wizards a lethal offense next year.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers have an important summer ahead of them after a brutal season. Granted, they dealt with numerous injuries this season, such as power forward Zach Collins. Even so, their lack of depth cost them this year. Davis Bertans would expand the roster comfortably, and help provide some much-needed scoring from the forward position. Furthermore, Portland would benefit greatly from adding three-point threats beyond Damian Lillard.
Looking at only Memphis’s top-six scorers this year, the average age for that group is 22.67 years old. Memphis could add to that core with a long term deal for 27-year old Bertans. To be fair, Jaren Jackson and Brandon Clarke handled the power-forward position well. However, the team could get flexible in their lineups, especially with Bertans’ play style. Plus, Memphis will need better three-point shooters in order to build on this year’s success. Memphis shot 35.2 percent behind the arc as a team, which ranked just 21st in the league.
The Celtics won’t have any money to spend this offseason. However, they could try working out a sign-and-trade to land Bertans. Boston’s bench was slim this season, notably behind Jayson Tatum at the four. When Tatum was off the court, the team’s offensive rating dropped 7.2 points. In addition, the opposing team’s offensive rating increased to 4.3. Brad Stevens thrives in making creative lineups, so adding a backup to Tatum could prove wildly successful.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images