Davis Bertans joined the Dallas Mavericks at the deadline as part of the Porzingis trade that shaped the Mavs’ season. His shiny reputation as a deadeye three-point shooter that he polished in San Antonio had largely tarnished after signing a big contract with the Wizards. That likely was the reason Washington saw fit to unload him when an opportunity arose. In a surprise that perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise anymore, Dallas got much more value out of the “throw-in” guy than most would have expected. Dwight Powell and Tim Hardaway Jr are testaments to that theory.
Bertans was a career-low (by a mile) .319 from three in Washington this season, but there’s no cure for shooting ills quite like having Luka Doncic generating those looks. The change of scenery, and change of offensive shot creator, got Bertans looking at least a bit more like the Davis of old. He shot a respectable .360 from deep over 22 regular-season games, and even bumped that number up to .373 in the playoffs. That’s movement in a good direction for a guy who’s got quite a bit of contract left.
Bertans had flashes of the sharpshooter he was for the Spurs during his handful of regular-season games with some impressive 5-of-8 and 4-of-5 shooting nights. However, his best game, without a doubt, came in the postseason.
The series against the Utah Jazz will likely be remembered for the ascension of Jalen Brunson in the absence of Luka. However, a big part of how Dallas not only trod water until Doncic could take the floor but went out and grabbed a 2-1 series lead without their All-NBA guard was through some big performances from their role players, including Davis Bertans.
In particular, his Game 3 looms large. It was a game defined by the shooting performances of a handful of guys coming off the bench for Dallas. Bertans tied Maxi Kleber for most made threes with a 4-of-7 night behind the arc. A solid performance for any shooter. What really added that little je ne sais quoi was an absurd chase-down block he laid on Juancho Hernangomez. Not something you see every day from the Latvian big man.
Davis Bertans has three years remaining on his 5-yr/$80M contract he signed with Washington. He’ll make $16M, $17M, and $16M over the next three seasons.
In acquiring Bertans in a the package of players they sent out for Kristaps Porzingis, they sort of got the guy, offensively, that Dallas really wanted KP to be, anyway. That is, a big guy who can shoot the snot out of it and doesn’t need post-ups. Now, defensively, there’s an unfathomable gulf between the two players and the role they play, but even still. As with his big block mentioned above, the eye test showed Bertans was always a willing, if not always effective defender. He’s likely making more money than you’d like for a player in his role of bench shooting specialist, but there are worse things to spend money on than a 6’10” forward who can shoot 40% from three.
If nothing else, hopefully, his time in Dallas, getting great looks generated by the game’s best shot creator in Luka Doncic, rehabs his image as a reliable shooter and turns him from a bad contract a team like Washington wants to get out fro under into a guy teams can see a clear use for. Dallas’ near-term cap situation is bleak, so any meaningful changes to the roster are going to come via trade. With that in mind, the more positive assets Nico Harrison has to work with, the better.
He did things. He played in playoff games. Considering some of us thought he might not see the floor, that’s pretty dang good on a curved scale.