NBA shooter with only 4.5 fingers

0
4

The way to the top of the NBA three-point standings began without lunch.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "On Saturday, around 8 o'clock, before his parents get up and while men lived & nbsp;Davis BertansDream flew over an ocean and two seas, the young Davis and his older brother, Dairis, were picking up the keys to the gym and disappearing. It had become a ritual, a weekly getaway in a natural habitat, through serene streets under a rising sun of the Baltic. "Data-reactid =" 32 "> On Saturday, around 8 am, before his parents get up and while Davis Bertans men live, his dream was to fly over an ocean and two seas, the young Davis and his older brother , Dairis, picked up the keys of the gymnasium and disappeared: it had become a ritual, a weekly getaway in a natural habitat, through serene streets under a rising sun of the Baltic.

"Being on a basketball court," said Davis, was as if someone else was going to school.

Thus, at the weekend, when the school stopped interfering, they played, played and played … so absorbed by a foreign game that had captivated their imagination, that they often forgot to eat.

"They" were children from the region, neighbors of Bertans, some of whom shared his dream of the NBA. But it was a small town in northern Latvia that had never facilitated it. Neither, realistically, could do it. At the time, no Latvian had played more than 89 minutes in the NBA, let alone in a village representing 0.16% of the country's population. A country of 1.9 million people, by the way, who had never qualified for a FIBA ​​World Cup. And still does not have.

In other words, the simple notion of travel, for any healthy individual in spirit, was absurd.

And that's before Bertans loses half a finger on his pulling hand.

Previously, while he was a teenager in basketball, he realized that he could not play.

Before tearing the same LCD twice.

And before becoming the world's most enduring puzzle piece in a trade that bears the familiar name of two different players, who are not him.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The story of Bertans is a marvel at the basketworld modern times and the human psyche.And a Friday afternoon in the middle of six games & nbsp;San Antonio Spurs& nbsp; victory, the NBA's second most accurate long-distance assassin took advantage of a break in the handling of 26-foot daggers to tell him about it. "data-reactid =" 41 "> The story of Bertans is a marvel of both the modern Basque world and the human psyche, and a Friday afternoon in the middle of a six-game encounter The San Antonio Spurs had a series of victories, the NBA's second most accurate long-distance killer took a break and swapped 26-meter daggers to tell it.

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The cradle of Bertans training"data-reactid =" 42 ">The cradle of Bertans training

Rujiena, Latvia, is one of those places where everyone knows each other. When the convenience store's wife is the mother of a classmate, the doctor of a relative or the friend of a neighbor. Where no one is really born, because the local hospital is insufficient, but where the community is tangible. And where strong and healthy boys, like the Bertans brothers, would be called to help. They would pick tomatoes and potatoes for city dwellers, the motto of their reward not in dollars, nor in euros, nor in dollars, but rather … tomatoes and potatoes. While the family lived "check after check" of two meager salaries of gymnastics teachers, remembers Davis (pronounced DAH-vis), "we sometimes ate only four weeks in a row of different styles – either apples boiled or baked or fried. "

<p class = "canvas-atom-text-canvas Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Rujiena was not big enough to support even a semi-professional basketball team, the boys would then go to Valmiera, a town of 25,000 inhabitants, to watch their father, Dainis, play.It is there, in a gym at the narrow That ambition was lit.As a child, Davis was the biggest fan of his father.Between the shouts, a thought infiltrated into his developing mind. : I want to play like them. I want to be there. Some time after watching the highlights of Michael Jordan's Bulls on Latvian television the next day, the idea narrowed. Want to became will. "data-reactid =" 44 "> Rujiena was not big enough to support even a semi-professional basketball team, so the boys went to Valmiera to 25,000 people to watch their father, Dainis, play. It was there, inside In a cramped gym, this ambition was lit.In his childhood, Davis was the biggest fan of his father.And between the screams of touch, a thought crept into his developing mind: I want to play like them. I want to be there. Some time after watching the highlights of Michael Jordan's Bulls on Latvian television the next day, the idea narrowed. Want to became will.

"I told them I was going to play in the NBA," Bertans said. "They" – the parents – "could have thought it was a joke at the time, but I did not think so.

What he thought he meant and what he meant, he often said it. Sometimes it meant problems. Dainis dismissed Davis, aged 9 or 10, from multiple youth basketball practices because, as Davis freely admits now, "I had a habit of telling people what to do . "

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Juvenile dictation has earned him nicknames like"dirktors"and"priekšnieksThe latter is vaguely translated into "boss". But the monotony melted into a determination that fueled the journey. This prevented him from returning to basketball fights face to face with Dairis, who with three years of additional physical maturity would invariably win. This forced him to defend himself when older comrades attacked him. Once, when a fraternal quarrel broke out, Dairis remembers: "Suddenly, he rushes into the kitchen. And I hear the open drawer, where are all the knives. … and I see him running with me with a knife. "" Data-reactid = "47"> Juvenile dictation has earned him nicknames like "dirktors"and"priekšnieksThe latter is vaguely translated into "boss". But the monotony melted into a determination that fueled the journey. This prevented him from returning to basketball fights face to face with Dairis, who with three years of additional physical maturity would invariably win. This forced him to defend himself when older comrades attacked him. Once, when a fraternal quarrel broke out, Dairis remembers: "Suddenly, he rushes into the kitchen. And I hear the open drawer, where are all the knives. … and I see him running on me with a knife. "

"Yes," Davis laughs. "I would never do anything with this knife. But being three years old, it was the only way to scare him.

The story continues

Dairis is locked in a room. Davis's rage ends up suffocating. This sharp blade returned to the drawer. But a few years later, another man about to break his dreams for good.

The Spurs waited for Davis Bertans for five years, but the wait was well worth it. (Getty Images)

More

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "How Davis Bertans lost a half finger"data-reactid =" 74 ">How Davis Bertans lost a half finger

Another of the brothers' regular duties took them to the yard of their grandfather, near the city center, where an electrician lives the size of 13-year-old Davis. He cut firewood trees to keep grandfather Bertans warm for the winter. While the Dairis assume more responsibility but lift less weight at one end of the saw, Davis becomes worried and pleads for a chance to be able to swap his roles. The Dairis have yielded. The rain started to fall. Davis began to hurry. And in a few minutes, it happened.

The slightly oversized Davis glove got stuck. The saw dropped. He tore his central nail and his right annular just above the second joint.

There was no blood flowing, no tears, no howling. Just shock. "You could see," recalls Dairis, the undeniable victim. "It was not pretty."

After a brief and useless search of the amputated fingertip, the Bertansmobile crossed the city to a school, clearing the speed limit, Davis at the back, Dairis at his side to keep him calm. They reached an ambulance and then drove another 30 minutes to the nearest legitimate hospital.

<p class = "canvas-atom web-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In the days following the surgery, remembers Davis, his Dad told him that basketball was over.When he returned to court a month later and that he had had difficulties, he apparently agreed. You know what, I'm going to play football or whatever, Davis remembers that his father had told him that his balloon was over, and when he returned to court a month later, he was apparently in agreement. You know what, I'm going to play football or whatever, he grumbled with frustration.

Gradually, however, he adjusted himself. Some shooters feel the ball rolling with their three middle fingers. Bertans has learned to face two. A year later, he won a 3 point contest in a junior match of the stars. "It was a really special moment," he says now.

The half finger has become a joke topic rather than an impediment; a device for noon pranks and whimsical handshakes; a distraction to throw free. It was a feature that Spurs scouts had noted but was not concerned; Rudy Gay and a few other teammates, but many do not even notice it.

"I was just lucky to have lost only that finger," says Bertans, who is perfectly comfortable with telling the story 13 years later.

But even if he had lost more: "I would probably have gone to the left hand if I had to do it."

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Fear of the unknown"data-reactid =" 84 ">Fear of the unknown

<p class = "canvas-atom web-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "On a vertiginous day in June 2013, with vertigo Its teammates erupted around him, Davis Bertans was upset.On the middle of the fourth part, Partizan Belgrade – his Partizan Belgrade – 12th consecutive title in the Serbian league, the lean Latvian 6-foot-10 inch has collapsed. The immediate treatment in the locker room was a knee and squats. Bertans, as energetic as ever, stumbled at halftime and said, "It's the final. I'll see what I can do. "Data-reactid =" 85 "> On a vertiginous day in June 2013, with edgy teammates around him, Davis Bertans was upset and halfway through the fourth half, Partizan Belgrade – his Partizan Belgrade – 12th consecutive title in the Serbian league, the lean Latvian 6-foot-10 inch has collapsed. The immediate treatment in the locker room was a knee and squats. Bertans, as energetic as ever, stumbled at halftime and said, "It's the final. I'll see what I can do."

Then he planted and rotated. His knee jumped. The pain has doubled. His heart sank.

The difficulty was not foreign to a 20-year-old who had almost lost a hand. He who had arrived in Slovenia at the age of 18 then had "documentation problems" and kept him away for several months. The 19-year-old who has become used to the fierce league, and the legendary coach Dule Vujocevic, whom Bertans said: "The first impression, I have never been so afraid of a coach of my life."

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Even when adversity dissipates, Vujocevic the During a post-workout workout, when 10 consecutive on 3 screen outputs were winning Bertans and the current number of & nbsp;Kings Sacramento& nbsp; guard & nbsp;Bogdan Bogdanovic& nbsp; a ticket for showers, Vujocevic felt that the challenge had been met. So he put on gardening gloves and duct tape, the latter closing off the dominant eyes – as if a missing half-finger was not sufficiently disabling. "Data-reactid =" 88 "> Even when adversity vanished, Vujocevic made it.For a single post A coaching session, when 10 out of 3 consecutive contests were given to Bertans and Bogdan Bogdanovic , the current guardian of the Kings of Sacramento, a ticket for the showers, Vujocevic felt that the challenge had been met.He handed then gardening gloves and tape, the latter to close the eyes.-as if missing a half finger was not enough crippling.

But this, the broken knee, was different. When Bertans' teammates celebrated the title, he sat there, wrapped in uncertainty. The Dairis called that night and could hear the fear of it in Davis's voice. Shortly after, fears were confirmed. The diagnosis: a torn ACL.

"In the beginning," Davis recalls, "I thought that no player I saw had this injury and had come back the same or better. I can come back, but I do not know if I will ever be the same player I was before. "

He had been one of the most promising candidates in Europe: a Spurs recruited at 18, a EuroLeague regular at 19. Suddenly, the promise was swallowed up by the unknown – after nine months of a monotonous crisis that shattered so many young men and women before we ever hear their names.

And when did Bertans attack him? When he pushed and pushed, crossing physical and mental obstacles to do what he feared, he could not? When he came back, he claimed a third Serbian crown, was transferred to Baskonia in Spain and lit up the EuroLeague again?

… this happened again. Same knee. Same heartbreaking wound.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "But this time, there was no doubt, no This time, when Bertans telephoned his agent after the match, in March 2015, the 22-year-old's message sounded: Let's be sad today. But tomorrow, forget that."data-reactid =" 94 "> But this time, there was no doubt, no fear.This time, when Bertans telephoned his agent after the match, in March 2015, the message the 22-year-old man echoed: Let's be sad today. But tomorrow, forget that.

"I felt sorry for myself the first time; it's useless, Bertans thought. "If I did it once, why not do it again? Of all the people around me, I was the most calm.

He was in many ways early, even more so inside his skull than on a basketball court. "His sincerity, his maturity," says Spurs GM R.C. Buford praises. "The approach that he took in his reeducation. … He was mature beyond his age.

Buford and the Spurs had recognized the "depth" of Bertans when they interviewed him in Treviso, Italy, at the adidas EuroCamp in June 2011. They remembered this on a memorable night two weeks later. .

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The "Bertans Davis Trading"?"data-reactid =" 98 "> The "Bertans Davis Trading"?

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "More than five years before Bertans finally makes his Spurs insisted during their debut in the NBA: during the preliminary evening of 2011, leaders were in talks with Indiana.The trade under discussion would send one of Gregg Popovich's favorite players, & nbsp;George Hill, back home in exchange for the 15th overall pick – provided that a certain physical monster from the state of San Diego is still on the board. "Data-reactid =" 99 "> More than five years before Bertans finally made his NBA debut, the Spurs leaders had negotiated with Indiana, George Hill, one of Gregg's favorite players Popovich, in exchange for the 15th final pick, provided that a certain physical monster came from San Diego State, was still on the board.

Buford said: "We would not trade for the 15th choice without the presence of a specific player."

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "This player was of course & nbsp;Kawhi Leonard. And two years after the end of the exchanges between four players, it was a retrospective gold, the essential "win-win". & Nbsp;Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote 3,427 words on this subject.. "Data-reactid =" 101 "> This player, of course, was Kawhi Leonard.Two years after the fall of the game to four, it was a retrospective gold – the" winner par excellence ". to win. "Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote 3,427 words on this subject. Not a single one was "Bertans".

But the tidy, pale wing of Union Olimpija was in San Antonio's mind when finalizing the framework of the agreement. Scouts had seen Bertans turn heads at the 2010 U-18 European Championships. They had followed him to the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit and other showcase events. For casual observers, while Hill and Leonard were the commercial headliners, the 42nd choice and rights over Erazem Lorbek were an afterthought. For the Spurs, they were necessary. Buans says Bertans was "in consideration" at No. 29, a choice San Antonio used instead on Cory Joseph. Thirteen places later, it was still available and the Spurs rushed with this 42nd choice.

Neither party expected the waiting period to be five years. Injuries have prolonged it. Everyone involved, however, anticipated that it was worth it. Bertans, who is already fluent in English, is prepared by visiting San Antonio during the summers. He underwent both ACL surgeries in the United States.

San Antonio had always been his favorite destination of the NBA. When he finally arrived, it did not disappoint. And the countless trails crossed by obstacles and loaded with obstacles? They were grueling; but they make Davis Bertans who he is.

Davis Bertans is second in the NBA with 3 points, less than half a percentage point behind league leader Joe Harris. (Getty)

More

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Marksmanship in San Antonio"data-reactid =" 125 ">Marksmanship in San Antonio

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Eight years after Adam Silver & nbsp;called his nameBertans comes out of the pindowns and the perimeter. It releases 3 seconds 0.6 or 0.7 seconds after taking, its shape is smooth and soothing to the eye as much as it is deadly. Within a Spurs team led by mid-range wizards, he is the ideal player and one of the main reasons why San Antonio draws 40% of points on average in the league with 25 attempts of 3 points per game. match, the lowest ranking. "Data-reactid =" 126 "> Eight years after Adam Silver called his nameBertans comes out of the pindowns and the perimeter. It releases 3 seconds 0.6 or 0.7 seconds after taking, its shape is smooth and soothing to the eye as much as it is deadly. Within a Spurs team led by mid-range wizards, he is the ideal player and one of the main reasons why San Antonio beats 40%, the highest score in the league, on 25 attempts of 3 points per match.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Bertans himself splashes to a clip of 46.2 This is the type of stroke & nbsp;brings fans closer to opponentsand collective Oh no of the mouth, even before the ball leaves his hand at 4.5 fingers. In his inexplicable exclusion of the 3 points contest, he was not "pissed off", but "was certainly not happy". "Data-reactid =" 127 "> Bertans projected at 46.2% .It is the type of shot that brings fans closer to opponentsand collective Oh no of the mouth, even before the ball leaves his hand at 4.5 fingers. On his inexplicable exclusion from the 3-point contest, he was not "pissed off", but "definitely was not happy".

<p class = "canvas-atom-canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" At the same time … it is not "The 3-point shots are not the only reason he plays 25 minutes per game in the last three months, for a 24-14 team in this sequence." [Popovich] I've never said, & nbsp;Bertans recently declared, "Was that I can play in the NBA with the offensive, but I will play in this team with the defense." The 26-year-old listened to the advice. Since then, he has been striving to earn Pop's trust. "Data-reactid =" 128 ">" At the same time … that's not why I'm here, "he says.The 3-point shot is not the only reason for which he plays 25 minutes per game in the last three months, for a 24-14 formation in this sequence. [Popovich] Bertans recently said, "I can still play in the NBA with the offensive, but I will play in this team with the defense." The 26-year-old took the board. Since then, he has been struggling to gain the trust of Pop.

Over the three years, fluctuations in playing time and assignments to the G-League have put its determination to the test. Even after signing again for two years and $ 14.5 million this season, his nighttime minutes were sometimes a single digit. "Everything had to be done again," he says.

"But I had to prove myself all my life. So, do it as well every season. "

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The journey started it all. fighting and & nbsp;flares& nbsp; in Serbia with swollen knees. From the pro-Lithuanian who criticized Davis, 15, for missing a pass without head, endless defeats face to face against the Dairis. According to the taunts of his brother's friends, the sources of his average one cry a day growing up, up to the trauma in his grandfather's court. "Data-reactid =" 131 "> This trip prepared him at all stages. flares in Serbia with swollen knees. From the pro-Lithuanian who criticized Davis, 15, for missing a pass without head, endless defeats face to face against the Dairis. From the taunts of his brother's friends, the sources of his mean crying one day a day growing up to the trauma in his grandfather's yard.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Two decades later, & nbsp;Signature of Dairis with the Pelicans& nbsp; has made Rujiena, the international per capita leader of active players in the NBA, a minimum of two. And between late nights and long flights, this has been a topic for reflection. On jeans, one pair a year, washed once a week. On these weekend walks and pickup marathons. An even more remarkable trip than it was theoretically. "Data-reactid =" 132 "> Two decades later, Dairis' signing with the Pelicans made Rujiena the international leader per capita of active players in the NBA, a minimum of 2. And between late nights and long flights, it was a matter of reflection: straight jeans, a pair a year, washed once a week, weekend walks and pickup marathons, a trip even more remarkable than in theory.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "More from Yahoo Sports:"data-reactid =" 133 ">More from Yahoo Sports:

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "– – – – – – –"data-reactid =" 143 ">– – – – – – –

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Henry Bushnell is a feature author for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Send him an e-mail at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter. @ HenryBushnell, and on Facebook."data-reactid =" 144 ">Henry Bushnell is a feature author for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Send him an e-mail at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter. @ HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.