When the Washington Wizards acquired Davis Bertans from the San Antonio Spurs in the offseason, they knew they were getting a sharpshooter.
Bertans, 27, shot over 40.0 percent from three-point range during his first three NBA seasons in San Antonio. This year, however, he has gotten off to such a hot start that he has become one of the more fascinating stories of the year.
He is averaging a career-high 3.7 three-pointers per game, nearly double his previous best. The forward is also shooting 45.3 percent from downtown, the best mark of his career as well.
The Wizards have scored 121.2 points per 100 possession when Bertans has played alongside star guard Bradley Beal, the best offensive rating among all two-man lineups (minimum: 250 minutes) in the Eastern Conference.
During the first half of a victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, the forward went a perfect six-for-six from three-point range. After the game, Washington rookie Rui Hachimura said Bertans is “the best shooter” he has ever seen.
Bertans, overall, is averaging an impressive 1.26 points per possession. That ranks in the 98th percentile this season, according to Synergy Sports. Among the 141 players who have finished at least 200 possessions so far, no one has been more efficient.
Most of his field-goal attempts have been three-pointers, which especially makes sense considering that he was the most accurate corner shooter in the league last season.
This year, he has been fantastic when shooting from long-range above the arc. James Harden (4.5) and Kemba Walker (3.5) are the only players who have connected on more non-corner three-pointers per game than Bertans has (3.3) in 2019-20.
Earlier this season, Fred Katz wrote about how the Wizards planned to use him in a different way than he had been implemented on the Spurs (via The Athletic):
“San Antonio kept him stationary more often and used his gravitational pull to yank defenders to the perimeter. Washington has implemented him as someone who can both set screens and run off them. He has an uncanny ability to make sure he’s always squared to the hoop. It doesn’t matter if he’s running in the opposite direction of the basket or not. When he turns and elevates, his shoulders are lined up; he lands in the same place he takes off.”
He has shot well coming off screens, which will only continue if he gets more playing time with teammate Thomas Bryant. Only five NBA players have averaged more screen assists than Bryant (5.3) thus far.
When shooting off a pick set by the Washington big man during a game vs. the Pacers on November 28, he also showed how efficient he has been on his contested shots.
Among all players in the Eastern Conference, he is tied for the most three-pointers made (18) when the defender has been within four feet.
Bertans, who leads the league in catch-and-shoot three-pointers (63) this season, is averaging 1.25 PPP on guarded catch-and-shoot opportunities. That ranks in the 82nd percentile among all players, per Synergy.
This offseason, the 6-foot-10 forward will be a free agent and if he is able to continue shooting the lights out, expect a massive offer sheet headed his way.