Davis Bertans, after 3-point contest snub, torching NBA from beyond arc

Davis Bertans
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Davis Bertans was making 47.2% of his 3-pointers on 4.4 attempts per game when the NBA announced the 3-point-contest field last season. The selections included

  • Seth Curry (48.5%, 2.9)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (42.9%, 4.0)

Not Bertans.

Bertans, who was then on the Spurs, said he was told he got omitted because he didn’t shoot enough. But he doesn’t believe that. He has two other theories:

“I was playing in San Antonio. It was a small market. People outside of San Antonio rarely follow the team.”

“They try to bring in guys who are more popular to bring the show, and it’s more fun for the fans. I think that’s the direction they went. They bring in Dirk and the Curry brothers.”

Bertans said he understands why the NBA chose the players it did. He also appreciated spending more time with his wife and baby daughter. “When the All-Star game was going on, I wasn’t upset for a second that I wasn’t there,” Bertans said. But he wanted to compete. He cheered for unheralded Nets guard Joe Harris, who campaigned his way into the contest and won it over Stephen Curry.

This season, Bertans wants his own turn in the event in Chicago.

“I don’t think they can use the same excuse if they don’t take me again,” Bertans said.

They sure can’t.

Now with the Wizards, Bertans is attempting 8.6 3-pointers per game and making 46.2% of them. The 6-foot-10 power forward is on track for one of the best outside-shooting seasons in NBA history.

Nobody has ever matched his combination of volume and efficiency. Here are the highest 3-point percentages among players attempting even six 3-pointers per game:

Davis Bertans 3-point shooting

Bertans is making nearly four 3-pointers per game. That puts him on pace to make 325 3s over 82 games. Only Stephen Curry (four times) and James Harden (once) have ever made 300 3-pointers in a season.

Not bad for someone who has repeatedly been afterthought.

Drafted No. 42 by the Pacers in 2011, Bertans was traded to San Antonio on draft night. You know the deal by two other players involved: No. 15 pick Kawhi Leonard and George Hill.

Bertans remained in Europe several more seasons. He tore his ACL in 2013, rehabbed and returned stronger. Then, he tore the same ACL again in 2015. One of his main responsibilities at the time was calming his family, which was concerned the injury could derail his career.

“Everybody else was more worried about me than I was,” Bertans said.

Bertans did what he did during his first rehab. He kept his head down and focused on the day-to-day.

Finally, he signed with the Spurs in 2016. Bertans played well, but his role remained limited on a team resistant to 3-point shooting. He mostly just spotted up beyond the arc to space the floor and shoot when open.

Last summer, San Antonio practically gave away Bertans and his $7 million salary to create flexibility for signing Marcus Morris. Morris reneged on his deal with the Spurs to sign with the Knicks. But Bertans was already gone.

That worked out great for Bertans. In Washington, he has the ultimate green light.

“Any shot is a good shot,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Bertans, who’s averaging 15.8 points per game. “I mean, really.”

There’s seemingly no limit on how Bertans creates and knocks down 3-pointers. His height and quick release allow him to shoot over defenders, and his mobility and ability to square up on the move get him open. Everything works.

He makes catch-and-shoot 3-pointers (minimum: 60 attempts):

Davis Bertans 3-point shooting

He launches off-the-dribble 3-pointers (minimum: 30 attempts):

Davis Bertans 3-point shooting

He cashes in when left open or wide open, per NBA.com, on 3-pointers (minimum: 60 attempts):

Davis Bertans 3-point shooting

He hits 3-pointers when the defense is tight or very tight, per NBA.com (minimum: 40 attempts):

Davis Bertans 3-point shooting

He bombs from deep (26 to 40 feet, so to filter out end-of-quarter heaves, per Basketball-Reference) (minimum: 40 attempts):

Davis Bertans 3-point shooting

The versatility of Bertans’ shooting is just incredible.

“He’s J.J. Redick at 6-9, 6-10,” Washington guard Ish Smith said.

Bertans will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said he wants to re-sign Bertans, who’ll be up for a big raise. The 27-year-old could help many teams on his next contract.

But Bertans isn’t looking too far ahead. Eying a spot in the 3-point contest is about as far as he’ll go. He has more pressing issues, like opposing defenses increasingly keying on him.

“You’ve got to be on high alert if he’s standing over in the corner looking like he’s doing nothing. That tells you he’s trying to trick you to get off,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s coming.”

Coach, front office moves update: Pistons make Williams hiring official, Borrego or Stotts to Bucks bench?


There are far from settled across the NBA in both the coaching and front office circles, with news still leaking out daily. Here’s an update on things which have come to light in recent days.

• The Detroit Pistons made the hiring of Monty Williams official.

“A week ago, I was not sure what the future would hold,” Williams said in a statement, referencing reports he had planned to take a year away from coaching. “But, after talking with Tom [Gores, team principal owner] and Troy [Weaver, Pistons GM], I was excited hearing their vision for the Pistons going forward. They had a thoughtful plan and I am so appreciative of the emphasis they placed on the personal side of this business. They showed tremendous consideration for me and my family throughout this process.

“They also showed a commitment to success and doing things the right way,” he said. “As we discussed the team and expressed our collective goals, I realized that this would be a great opportunity for me to help a talented young team and build a strong culture here in Detroit. This is obviously a special place with a deep basketball history, and my family and I are looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of this city and organization.”

Williams has a six-year, $78.5 million contract with the team and that reportedly could grow to more than eight years, $100 million if incentives are hit. He was brought in to help build a culture of defense and discipline for a franchise with some nice young players but many questions.

• Kevin Ollie, the former NBA player and UConn coach who was in the mix for the Pistons’ job before Williams was hired, will be on the bench in Brooklyn next season.

• While Adrian Griffin has not officially signed his contract as the new Bucks head coach, he is sitting in on meetings running up to the draft and has essentially started the job, reports Eric Nehm and Shams Charania at The Athletic.

More interestingly, The Athletic reports the Bucks plan to put an experienced, veteran head coach next to the rookie Griffin, and are speaking to former Hornets head coach James Borrego and former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Bringing in an experienced staff to put around Griffin is the smart move, with what we saw this season with Joe Mazzulla in Boston as an example of why this is the smart path.

• The Wizards have hired former Hawks head of basketball operations Travis Schlenk to be the right-hand man next to new Wizards president Michael Winger. This is a quality hire. Schlenk was rumored to have questioned Atlanta’s trade for Dejounte Murray to put next to Trae Young — a move ownership wanted — and by mid-season he was pushed out the door. Having Winger and Schlenk in the Washington front office is a lot of brain power, the question remains will they be given true freedom by owner Ted Leonsis to make moves for the long term and not prioritize just making the playoffs? The Wizards have a big offseason coming up with questions about new contracts/extensions for Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis.

• Aaron Nelson, the training staff guru hired by the Pelicans away from the Suns in 2019 to help Zion Williamson and others, appears to be out of the mix in a restructured staff, reports Christian Clark at the Times-Picayune. Zion did not have a great relationship with Nelson, but the question is was Nelson the scapegoat for players issues beyond his control? From Clark’s article:

Williamson’s relationship with Nelson became strained during his rookie season. At different points, Williamson refused to work with him…

Brandon Ingram sat out 29 consecutive games with an injury the team described as a left toe contusion. Ingram kicked the back of a Memphis Grizzlies player’s foot in November. Two days after the injury, Pelicans coach Willie Green said Ingram was “day to day.” Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Ingram did not play again until Jan. 25 — exactly two months after hurting his toe…

Ingram has sometimes seemed unwilling to play through minor discomfort, to the point where some of his teammates have become frustrated with him over the past two years. The Pelicans thought they had solved their player care and performance problem by hiring Nelson. Four years later, Nelson’s time in charge of the department is over.

When the Pelicans have all their stars on the court, this is at the very least, a playoff team in the West and potentially a dangerous one. I’m not going to speculate on the internal dynamics of the Pelicans front office and training team, but after years of injury issues it’s fair to ask if this is a matter of the training staff, or is this on the players themselves?

Knicks’ Julius Randle undergoes ankle surgery, should return for training camp

2023 NBA Playoffs - 	New York Knicks v Miami Heat
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Knicks’ Julius Randle sprained his ankle with two weeks to go in the regular season. He returned from that in time to face the Cleveland Cavaliers and their massive front line in the playoffs, but he struggled in that series — 14.4 points a game on 33.8% shooting — and injured his ankle again in Game 5. He did make it back for the Heat series after missing Game 1 but was never fully himself.

Now, as he hinted at during the playoffs, Randle has undergone offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Randle is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in the fall.

Randle had an All-NBA season, averaging 25.1 points and 10 rebounds a game, and was part of the reason, along with Jalen Brunson, the Knicks were the No. 5 seed in the East last season.

Randle’s name has come up in trade rumors, mostly with him going out if the Knicks get in the mix for a superstar who becomes available this offseason. If someone such as Karl-Anthony Towns or Bradley Beal hits the market and New York wants to be in play, sending out Randle — set to make $25.6 million this season, with two more seasons on the books after that — is the way to match salaries.

Randle should be healthy and ready for training camp for whatever team he is on come September.

Watch Victor Wembanyama highlights from French league playoffs


Give Victor Wembanyama and his handlers credit — they have got him out there playing. The management teams for a lot of future No. 1 picks would have their guy in bubble wrap by now, not doing anything but solo workouts in a gym, not wanting to risk any injury or risking his draft status.

Wembanyama — the 7’4″ prodigy on both ends of the floor — is on the court in the semi-finals of the French LNB league (the highest level of play in France). His team, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, is one win away from the LNB Finals. While they lost on Friday to Lyon-Villeurbanne (the best-of-five series is now 2-1 Boulogne-Levallois), Wembanyama put up some highlights worth watching.

The San Antonio Spurs will select Wembanyama with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft (June 22). San Antonio — and possibly Wembanyama — will make their Summer League debut at the California Classic Summer League in Sacramento in early July, before heading on to Las Vegas for the larger, official Summer League. While Wembanyama is playing for his French team in the playoffs, how much the Spurs will play him in the summer leagues — if at all — remains to be seen (top players have been on the court less and less at Summer League in recent years).

Spoestra’s biggest Heat adjustment for Game 2? Play with more ‘toughness and resolve’


DENVER — The days between NBA Finals are filled with talk of adjustments. After an ugly Game 1, much of that falls on the Heat — what can Erik Spoelstra draw up to get Jimmy Butler better lanes to attack? How must the Heat adjust their defense on Nikola Jokick?

Spoelstra sees it a little differently.

“Scheme is not going to save us,” he said.

His point is straightforward, the team’s best adjustment is simply to play better. More effort, more resolve. The trio of Max Strus, Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson must do better than 2-of-23 from 3. The Heat can’t settle for jumpers like they did in Game 1, they have to attack the rim and draw some fouls, getting to the line (the Heat had just two free throws in Game 1). Their halfcourt defensive decisions have to be sharper. Those are not scheme-related things.

The Heat saw some of that in the second half, but Spoelstra made it clear the better last 24 minutes (particularly the last 12) was more about effort than the adjustments they made (such as playing more Haywood Highsmith and putting him on Jokić for a while).

“I never point to the scheme. Scheme is not going to save us,” Spoelstra said. “It’s going to be the toughness and resolve, collective resolve. That’s us at our finest, when we rally around each other and commit to doing incredibly tough things. That’s what our group loves to do more than anything, to compete, to get out there and do things that people think can’t be done.

“The efforts made that work in the second half, but we’re proving that we can do that with our man defense, too.”

Among the things many people don’t think can be done is the Heat coming back in this series. But Spoelstra is right, proving people wrong is what the Heat have done all playoffs.