NBA Free Agency 2020: Predictions for Davis Bertans, More Top Forwards

Martin FennCorrespondent IIOctober 12, 2020

Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (42) reacts after shooting a 3-point basket against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The 2019-20 NBA season concluded on Sunday after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to win their first championship since 2010.

But while the Lakers will take some time to celebrate, most of the rest of the league will prepare for a challenging offseason period.

It remains to be seen what the official salary-cap numbers will look like, in addition to the actual start date for free agency. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week that free agency is expected to start "no later" than Dec. 1, and he also added the current cap projections are not expected to change much.

Until things are set in stone, however, teams can only sketch out their plans and throw around hypothetical numbers for possible targets.

This year's class of free agents is lacking in star player. But there are some very intriguing bigs set to hit the open market, notably Washington Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans.

The following is a breakdown of Bertans and other notable forwards, in addition to predictions as to where these players might land.


Predictions for Top Free-Agent Forwards   

Davis Bertans   

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Bertans had been a notable stretch-4 as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, but he really saw his share of the spotlight in Washington.

The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 42.4 percent from beyond the arc on a whopping 8.7 attempts per game. Bertans' usage rate climbed to 19 percent, and he also posted a career-high 2.7 offensive box plus-minus, per Basketball Reference

Early indications suggest the Wizards will re-sign Bertans. 

General manager Tommy Sheppard seemed adamant about retaining Bertans in August, calling the Latvian a "priority" for the Wizards this offseason, per Fred Katz of The Athletic. 

Bringing Bertans back into the fold makes sense for Washington. John Wall will (ideally) be healthy for the start of next season, and Bertans would give Wall the perfect pick-and-pop weapon to break down opposing defenses and create more spacing.

Granted, Bertans has had two major knee injuries in his career, so there is some risk involved for Washington. However, the Wizards are likely to re-sign Bertans and see what Wall can do for a mostly similar roster to this past season.   

Prediction: Wizards re-sign Bertans


Christian Wood   

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Wood had been a journeyman in the early stages of his NBA career, but he blossomed into a promising big in Detroit after earning the final roster spot on a non-guaranteed contract.

The former UNLV product averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game, giving the Pistons instant energy and paint scoring. That per-36 line of 22.0 points and 10.6 rebounds is likely to jump out at interested teams, especially given Wood's efficiency and athleticism.

Not only can Wood score around the basket and make plays at the rim, he also showed the ability to step out and shoot. The 25-year-old averaged nearly a three per game on 2.3 attempts per contest, good enough for a 38.6 percent clip.

Wood excelled as a roll man and rim-runner, much in the same vein as Montrezl Harrell in Los Angeles. Only, unlike Harrell, Wood has more size and length, and can also stretch the floor with his shooting ability. 

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic reported in July Wood could make close to $16 million per season on the open market, but the Pistons also have the benefit of early bird rights. 

Detroit did not trade Andre Drummond merely to let an upside big like Wood walk out the door. He will head back to the Motor City.  

Predictions: Pistons re-sign Wood


Paul Millsap   

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets might be pressed into choosing between three bigs this offseason, and Millsap might be the odd man out.

Millsap was tremendous for the Nuggets this season, averaging 11.6 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 43.5 percent from deep on 2.4 attempts per game. The four-time All-Star stretched the floor and provided some toughness in the frontcourt.

However, Millsap will be 36 next February, and his minutes have decreased in each of the last three years. The Nuggets have a stretch-4 type in Michael Porter Jr., and they might also choose to re-sign Jerami Grant (if he declines his player option) after a strong playoff performance.

This would leave Millsap looking for a new club, though any number of teams could use his versatile skill set. Interestingly enough, one such team could be the reigning Eastern Conference champions.

The Miami Heat frontcourt might benefit From Millsap's ability to space the floor and make plays off the dribble while also guarding multiple positions. Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com reported in June the Heat had interest in Millsap.

It makes sense for a number of reasons. Not only will the Heat be looking to add frontcourt depth with the likely loss of Meyers Leonard, but they might also be able to coax Millsap into a one-year deal while maintaining maximum space for the pivotal summer of 2021.   

Prediction: Millsap signs with Heat


All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.