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Bertans reflects on playing for Spurs: Wizards are 'more of a democracy'

Garrett Ellwood / National Basketball Association / Getty

It's only been 54 games, but Washington Wizards power forward Davis Bertans has already noticed some key differences between his past and present teams since his trade from the San Antonio Spurs last July.

"I think the biggest difference, probably, is there might be a little bit more democracy (with) the Wizards than there is in San Antonio," the 27-year-old told Justin Kutcher on the "Wizards Social Hour" this week. "Mostly, what (Gregg Popovich) says, that goes.

"There's only been a couple people, maybe, in a long time that have been able to actually say something to Pop and have him agreeing with them. You have to be 100% sure - not even 100, maybe 150% sure that you're right before you actually say something that is opposite of what he said."

In many respects, Popovich, the Spurs' legendary head coach, has earned that right. San Antonio has qualified for the playoffs in each season from 1998-2019 with the surly Air Force veteran manning the sideline, winning championships in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014.

In comparison, the Wizards organization has only advanced past the first round of the playoffs five times since making its second straight NBA Finals appearance in 1980.

"With the Wizards, it's more of a democracy," Bertans explained. "You can have your opinions and you can feel safe that nothing's going to happen - that if you're wrong, somebody's gonna maybe correct you, and that's it. That might be the big difference."

Bertans averaged 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 16 minutes per game with the Spurs from 2016-19. In his first season in Washington, those numbers have skyrocketed to 15.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest with 42.4% shooting on threes.

With the NBA season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Spurs sit at 27-36 - 12th in the Western Conference. Under Scott Brooks, the Wizards are 24-40, good for the ninth seed in the weaker Eastern Conference.

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