'Dāvis is a player that will add depth to our frontcourt with his shooting ability, basketball IQ, and work ethic.' That was the Wizards' GM Tommy Sheppard on a day the team acquired Latvian stretch-four from the Spurs. Fast forward a year, Bertāns is Washington's second-leading scorer behind only Bradley Beal and is one of the best three-point shooters in the whole association.
The Latvian Sniper finished the season with 200 three-pointers made - league-leading for a guy coming off the bench, and seventh overall. He also ranked fourth in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game (3.7) and second in 3-pointers made per 100 possessions (5.9).
When combining volume and efficiency, Dāvis is among the league's best. He ranks seventh in 3PA with 8.7, and sixth in 3P%, as he's converting .424 of his long-range attempts, making him the ultimate high volume-high efficiency NBA sharpshooter.
From playing in Europe to his first three years with the Spurs, Dāvis has always been elite when it comes to shooting the ball. It's the combination of hard work and natural ability that propelled Bertāns into a top-tier NBA long-range sniper. And according to Dāvis himself, that's the only way you can get there.
“There's a lot of players that have proved that you can't really become a great shooter if you don't have a feel for the shot, since birth basically. There's not a lot of guys in the league that's going to be like Steph, Damian Lillard and come off screens, off dribble, shoot half-court shots. I think players can improve their spot-up shooting, but there's not a lot of guys that can come off screens, shoot contested shots and still have that feel to make those.”
So when it comes to shooting, it's either you have it or you don't, according to Dāvis. And even if you don't have it, you can reach a certain level of shooting ability, but there is only so much you can do without the God-given talent.
“Free-throws, spot-up shots - those are the shots that you can improve by working on it. The more you shoot, the better you're going to get. The other ones, I think that's just a natural ability. Somebody can jump really high, and some guys can shoot better.”
He may not jump as high, but Dāvis sure can shoot the ball. We've seen it on so many occasions during his 4-year run in the NBA, especially during his 19/20 campaign with the Wizards.
The way he kept the same level of shooting excellence throughout the season has been impressive. That's the challenging part when you're making a living converting long-range jumpers - your mind has to be in the right place, especially when you're out of the shooting rhythm.
“The only way you can get out of the slump is if you keep shooting. That's the first rule if you're a shooter - you keep shooting whether you make it or miss it. Sometimes you just need one to fall, and everything goes back to normal. But if you miss shots, and you start thinking about the next one, then you're down, and it's almost impossible to get out of that. But once the shot is falling, you can close your eyes and let it fly, and it goes in.”
Dāvis hasn't seen many slumps in his first year in Washington. But even if he gets out of rhythm, he has the recipe to get back on track. That's what makes him one of the best shooters in the NBA today.
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