Scott Brooks: Isaac Bonga will get more opportunities with Davis Bertans out

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Mike DePrisco
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'Next man up': Bonga to get more time with Bertans out originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Wizards lost Davis Bertans for two weeks after it was announced Friday that he suffered a calf strain in his right leg. 

It's not easy to replace 25 minutes per game of prolific shooting, even if Bertans is having an off-year behind the 3-point line. He's still shooting over 38% from deep on seven attempts per game. 

In the immediate future, it looks like third-year wing Isaac Bonga is going to get the first crack at an increased role in Bertans' absence. 

"It's next man up," Scott Brooks said after practice Saturday. "Bonga's gonna get some opportunities, and there might be another guy or two that has to be ready."

Along with Bonga, Troy Brown Jr. and Jerome Robinson could be in line for more minutes on the wing after dropping in and out of Brooks' rotation throughout the season. Deni Avdija is firmly in the rotation but could see an uptick in minutes as well. 

Bonga won't replace Bertans' offensive impact as a player who's never averaged more than five points per game in a season. What he will bring is a boost on the defensive end of the floor. 

Per Cleaning the Glass, the Wizards' defensive rating with Bonga on the floor is 101.9, which ranks in the 98th percentile league-wide. When Bonga isn't on the floor, Washington's defense falls off drastically to 116.8 defensive rating, which is in the 17th percentile of defensive lineups across the NBA. 

The Wizards approach a critical part of their schedule as they try and fight their way back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They'll need players like Bonga and Brown to step up in a big way while Bertans recovers from what Brooks said is a complex injury to deal with. 

"[Bertans] had a couple of days [off], felt great, played on it and felt great," he said. "That day, he felt great. You can't control it, things happen.  He was feeling good, we would not have put him out there if he wasn't feeling 100%. Those are always tricky injuries. You can feel great like he did and then [an injury] happens again."

For their next game, the Wizards will travel to Brooklyn to take on a red-hot Nets team Sunday night at 7 p.m.

Tune in at 6 PM on Sunday for full coverage of the Wizards vs. Nets on NBC Sports Washington.