Last week, we told you that San Antonio Spurs 2011 draftee Davis Bertans would be traveling to San Antonio this summer to work out with the Spurs coaching staff. It's the second year the European sharpshooter has made the trek to the Alamo City for some extra training.
Recently, I exchanged emails with Bertans on his season with BC Partizan, his expectations for working out with the Spurs this summer and some other fun stuff.
Check out this Project Spurs' exclusive interview with Bertans and get to know him a bit better.
Bertans on his biggest improvement this season:
"I have improved a lot in many aspects, but as funny as it sounds i think the most i have improved my shot. It's become more consistent and harder to guard. My (playing) time has grown and i feel that i have become one of the key players in our team."
Observation: Bertans' shot has just gotten better as the year has gone on. During the Euroleague season in the fall of 2012, Bertans averaged 6.6 points per game and while he shot 47.1 percent from three, he only managed to shoot 22 percent from two and 62.5 percent from the free throw line. Fast forward to the Adriatic League, his three point numbers stayed similar, but his shots from two jumped to 48.5 percent and he averaged 9.8 ppg. His Serbian League numbers have been even better, as he's averaging 13.5 ppg on 62 percent shooting from two and 40 percent from three.
On his expectations for his workouts this summer in San Antonio:
"I will do what ever the coaches will tell me to. But as much as I know, I will be working on my upper body a lot."
Observation: Some upper body strength and conditioning is definitely needed since he's pretty slight for his 6'11" frame (according to Eurobasket). Bertans is playing small forward for Partizan right now, but it's unclear if he has the foot speed and athleticism to guard small forward in the NBA. But if he can put on some weight he can guard power forwards and become really tough for other power forwards to guard.
On visiting San Antonio last summer:
"I really enjoyed the time in San Antonio last summer even though it was way too hot for me. As i remember it was above 100 degrees at that time. When i was working out there were also few team members in the gym... It was Gary Neal, Cory Joseph, Kawhi Leonard. There was also James Anderson and I got a chance to meet Tim Duncan."
Observation: It's true, San Antonio is really hot in the summer. Also, I suggested to Bertans that he try Rosario's when he's in town. He said he likes Mexican food and will check it out. I'll check back with him to see if this actually happens.
On the life of a 20 year old Latvian basketball player living in Serbia.
Answer: "Usually (there's) two practices a day. In the morning lifting and shooting and then I stay in the gym to work on individual stuff with Coach (Dusko) Vujosevic. After practice lunch and nap. In the evening team practice. And when i get home then very often i play online video games with my friends. Most often it's Call of Duty or Pro Evolution Soccer. I don't really get a lot of time off, but when I do i usually go to see a movie with friends. My favorite city... I'll go with Riga (in his home country of Latvia), because that's the place i always want to go to.
Observation: Sounds like college without going to class, which is you know, awesome.
Euro basketball is good preparation for Spurs' motion offense. Bertans likely to be a Tom Chambers or Dirk Nowitzki type. His development as a player will probably accelerate over next two years. May not get to play with Duncan though.