A lot of San Antonio Spurs fans were shocked at the news that Davis Bertans had been assigned to the Austin Spurs G-league team. The Latvian big man played a big role once Kawhi Leonard went down in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. With a very thin frontcourt this season, many thought this would be the chance Bertans needed to step into the spotlight as a backup big. Unfortunately, this has not been the case as of late. Bertans saw incredibly limited action in the first six games of the season. In most of these contests, he completely failed to see the court.

San Antonio's front office decided that Bertans was best suited playing some games for the G-league, offering a chance for development and redemption. So far, he is already shining with Austin.

Big game against the Texas Legends

Bertans' first game with Austin came against the Texas Legends, the G-league affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. The Legends boast a pretty good G-league roster, with former Baylor star Jonathan Motley, former Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross, and former Arizona big man Brandon Ashley forming a formidable frontcourt. This didn't seem to bother the Latvian, though. He torched that frontcourt time and time again.

Bertans finished with 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting in thirty-one minutes for the Austin Spurs.

As is typical for him, the majority of these points came off of three-pointers. In fact, he attempted more threes than twos in this game. The Spurs' forward also finished with five rebounds and a blocked shot to round out his numbers nicely.

What will Bertans need to work on?

While, yes, he did play extremely well against the Legends, Bertans will need to work on multiple facets of his game if he wants to see the court in San Antonio anytime soon.

Rudy Gay has locked up the backup stretch-four position, and, with Gay's play of late, it's going to take a lot of convincing from Bertans to get Popovich to give him the spot back. This is because of a few key parts of Rudy's skill set that just aren't found in that of Bertans.

The biggest skill that Rudy offers (and Bertans struggles with) is rebounding.

Bertans averages just one rebound per game this season. Gay pulls down about five rebounds per game. As he stands two inches taller than Gay, Bertans really needs to improve his ability to get in position to rebound missed shots. The "he plays on the perimeter" excuse used to be valid, but now that Gay is pulling in that many rebounds with the same play style, there is no reason that Bertans shouldn't do this same.

By the same token, even though perimeter play is no longer an excuse, Rudy Gay's inside play does allow him to pick up a few more buckets and rebounds. Bertans showed flashes of a great paint game in the Western Conference Finals, but, since then, he has shied away from posting up or setting pick and roll plays for the guards.

This cuts down on spacing, high percentage shots, and rebound opportunities for the big man.

Can he succeed in San Antonio?

Of course, he can succeed. He's got one of the best coaches in history and a system tailor-made for his play style. The rest is entirely up to Bertans. If he is willing to put in the work it takes, he's got the makings of being a star role player for the Spurs. If Joffrey Lauvergne, Brandon Paul, and Jonathon Simmons could go it, Bertans definitely can. It seems as if he's already started, too, as he's been photographed multiple times this week working out with Spurs great, Tim Duncan. That's definitely a great place to start. This may not be the last we see of Bertans in the G-league this season, but it also won't be the last we see of him with the Spurs. As the season progresses, I have faith he'll develop nicely and earn some key minutes in the rotation come playoff time. We'll just have to wait and see.