When the Wizards signed Davis Bertans this offseason, Wizards fans, including myself, barely looked into the move. Bertans, who came to Washington from San Antonio and averaged only eight points in 21.5 minutes of action per game last season, was a mediocre role player who can check-in and splash a quick three or two.
Midway through the season, however, he has earned his nickname, the “Latvian Laser.” And rightfully so. Shooting a career-best 43.4% from outside the arc and averaging 15.4 points in 30 minutes per game, Bertans is even more efficient with higher usage in Washington.
To top it off, Bertans even received high praise from Scottie Pippen, who on ESPN proclaimed “He’s shooting the heck out of the ball,” when talking about the surprise that Bertans has been.
All credit must be given to Tommy Sheppard for finding multiple undervalued assets such as Bertans and Ish Smith this offseason that cumulatively got the Wizards off to a better start than many expected. Obviously, they still have a long way to go, but if Sheppard continues finding undervalued players on relatively cheap deals like Bertans, the Wizards will be primed for future success.
The Latvian Laser deserves the NBA’s Most Improved Player (MIP) award based on his ability to score in bunches without sacrificing efficiency. It is a huge reason that the Wizards are not as bad as they were thought to be coming into the season.
Bertans recently returned to the lineup after missing eight games and will continue to show why he deserves the MIP award.