Tag Archives: Davis Bertans

The Washington Wizards Must Have Found Their Magic Spellbook

The Washington Wizards must have found some magic because they’ve been on a tear of late. Winners of seven of their last eight games, the once left-for-dead Wizards have turned things around after they stumbled coming out of the All-Star break. Washington lost their first five games and went 3-12 before this streak.

The Wizards Change Of Fortune Is No Magic Act

Impact Players

Everyone knows Bradley Beal is one of the best scorers in the NBA. Up until Stephen Curry dropped 40-plus in back-to-back games, Beal led the NBA in scoring.

It would be the second year in a row Beal finishes in the top two in scoring in the Association. Beal also missed the one game Washington lost in the aforementioned streak.

He averaged 27.4 PPG post-break but has averaged 29.7 points during the Wizards run. He also hasn’t done it all by himself.

Russell Westbrook might need to have an award created just for him to signify all the times he’s been written off in recent years. And while his numbers are certainly down on the year, his impact has not been.

Sitting on a 21.8/10.9/10.9 line, Westbrook is putting up 23.5/12.3/12.3 since the break has been at 21./13.5/13.1 during the recent string of wins. The most encouraging development might be his improved efficiency from deep.

He’s shooting better than 30 percent from beyond the arc on the season and 33 percent since the deadline. It’s a modest percentage but it’s a massive step up for Westbrook.

The “Other” Guys

Davis Bertans was a hot commodity on a watered-down free-agent market in an abbreviated offseason. He re-signed with the Wizards on a five-year deal after recording the best deep-shooting advanced metrics in the NBA.

The honeymoon didn’t last long though as Bertans averaged just over 11 points while shooting under 39 percent from outside.

Bertans, just like Beal and Westbrook, has been much better over his last seven games. He’s averaging 14.7 points and shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.

On the less glamorous end, Daniel Gafford is providing a very nice return on Washington’s investment. Since joining the Wiz, the former Chicago Bulls big man is averaging 11.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG; both up substantially from his time in Chicago and mostly thanks to more playing time.

But it’s his 2.0 blocks per game that have caught the most eyes.

That’s because, as the Bulls have struggled with their rim protection even with Gafford in the fold, he’s been rejecting some of the game’s most notable dunkers in DC. It’s a testament to his work ethic to turn what could be damaging to a young player into an opportunity.

Wizards Re-Discovered Magic Spellbook

Washington is currently 11th in the East, just outside of the play-in tournament. But they have one of the easiest remaining schedules, per Tankathon.com, and have six games remaining against four Eastern Conference opponents that are set to make the playoffs themselves.

This is the perfect situation for the Wizards to take advantage of and the best time for the Wizards to re-discover their magic. How long can they keep this up?

Victor Oladipo is the Finesser of the Year

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is the Finesser of the Year. A man of many talents, he just added another to the list. Not only is he former All-NBA,  a two-time All-Star, All-Defense, and steals champ, but he also sings (well!). That’s not why we’re here though. Oladipo just added to his ever-growing resume.

Finesser of the Year Goes to Victor Oladipo

A Little Background

Oladipo ruptured his quad back in 2018 after 36 games. He was averaging 18.8/5.6/5.2 at the time and was third in clutch points. The Pacers were 21-15 and a darkhorse candidate to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. They finished 48-34, good enough for fifth in the East, and got swept in the first round by the Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics.

The loss of Oladipo was felt instantly. Indiana hadn’t lost more than two games in a row before he went down. They lost the next four following the game he got injured versus the Toronto Raptors. He had missed time earlier with knee soreness and the Pacers went 7-4.

Oladipo wouldn’t return to the floor until January of this year; over a year removed from his surgery. Playing a career-low 25.9 minutes per game, he’s averaging 13.8/3.2/3 and slashing .391/.304/.780 for a Pacers team that is 13 games over .500 and once again finds itself sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Current Situation

The NBA’s planned restart date is drawing nearer and the conversations around the mechanics of it all are ramping up. Even though the guidelines have been set, many questions remain. Much of the conversation has been about players opting-out of the restart altogether.

Kyrie Irving got a lot of heat but ultimately said he wouldn’t hold it up if the players agreed. But soon, players like Trevor Ariza (family) and Davis Bertans (securing the bag) quickly decided against playing. Avery Bradley and Willie Cauley-Stein would follow. The former was significant given his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, are among the title favorites.

Wilson Chandler, Thabo Sefolosha; other names that dropped out but, for the most part, no one of significance was set to miss the action. Irving was never going to play and even Bradley is a role player; albeit a potentially important one. Then we got news on Friday of Oladipo’s decision.

Victor Oladipo, Finesser of the Year

Up until now, players opting-out of playing were doing so while also not traveling with the team and would forego the remaining portion of their salary for this year. Oladipo announced that he will rehab in Orlando while also being with his team. This will allow him to still get paid.

At 28, coming off a serious leg injury, and facing free agency in 2021 it makes perfect sense for Oladipo to sit out. It’s certainly a blow to the Pacers title hopes to lose a player who averaged 16.8/4.3/4.5 in 27 MPG from February 12th on. Indiana went 6-1 in the games Oladipo played over that span and 2-2 in the four contests he rested.

It’s a huge blow for the Pacers, but an understandable move for Oladipo. The added bonus of not missing out on any cash is (very expensive) icing on the cake. It will be interesting to see if any other players follow suit or if the league finds some method of stopping it.

For now, at least, Victor Oladipo is the Clocker Sports Finesser of the Year.