commonly known that the Chicago Bulls currently do not possess a high-scoring
shooting guard on their roster, and most point to it as the club's weakest
link. Even so, there is no reason to write off 25-year old Ronnie Brewer. The
6'7 swingman is as athletic as they come, has experience in guarding some of
the best wings in the league - even in the playoffs - and while he's not a big
shot-maker, his 52% accuracy from the field over his career proves that he
isn't a liability.
Yes, it is correct the Bulls need spacing, and it's much of the reason why they're still chasing Rudy Fernandez from Portland and signed Orlando guard J.J. Redick to a three-year offer sheet worth $19 million. But aside from the obvious strength of shooting that those two provide, Brewer has them beat in almost every other aspect of the game.
down Brewer's game, it doesn't take long to see just how well he moves off the
ball, even considering his limited range that extends no further than 15-17
feet. Brewer makes quick strong cuts to the basket after making eye contact
with his point guard, and usually rewards them with high-percentage shots at
the rim. He even worked well alongside Carlos Boozer, by utilizing the
attention ordered to Boozer in Utah. Brewer played under the radar, took plays
off where the defender would assume his movement had stopped, only to end up
watching the high-flyer receive smart interior passes, and completing them with
downright crazy dunks at times.
next to Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer, it's not hard to envision that Brewer
will maintain this approach to the game. Though, there is a chance he will
feature more in the Chicago offense than he did in Utah. The Bulls are deep,
but not necessarily from an offensive standpoint as Utah were. Rose, who is
more offensive minded than Utah's Deron Williams, likes to try out different
angles to attack from. It's not rare to see Rose attack the basket ten times a
night from a different spot every time, and this will only make Brewer that
much more dangerous. The defense will tune into Rose, leaving Brewer in a
position to either force the defender to commit to his movement, or the
movement of Rose. If the defender cheats, Brewer is off running, and can be
found on the baseline cutting strong to the hoop. If the defender remains with
Brewer, it becomes a two-man game between Rose and his defender. A game the
defender will lose more often than not.
added bonus is the addition of Kyle Korver, also from Utah. Having played with
Korver before, Brewer knows his pattern and will use that provided spacing
gained from Korver's presence to his advantage. Korver likes to come off curls
and shoot, which is one of the shots most in need of defensive attention. To
stop a shooter who can run off the ball requires team defense as no one
defender can continue to chase around such a player through double or even
triple screens. Given that attention, Korver will succeed in helping the
defense in forgetting Brewer, who is a non-shooter. With Rose and possibly
Boozer on the floor too, no defender will cheat off of them to maintain
Brewer's placement on the court. In Utah, Korver, Boozer and Williams were
often used as bait, only to free up Brewer for small cuts or wide open
alley-oops. It's not a play that can be run all night long, otherwise Brewer
would be scoring more than the 10.3 average he has for his career, but it's a
legit play that can be used a couple of times during a game, and will create
easy baskets if the defense doesn't smell it ahead.
Brewer is nothing short of brilliant. Often overlooked by reporters for the
magnitude of his defensive presence, Brewer has tremendous understanding of how
to guard players with different speed and strengths. Stick him with a small
combo guard, and Brewer will bump him, while matching his speed step for step.
Put in a tall, but slower, guard in who can score, and Brewer reads him, learns
his moves, all while trying to force the player into a corner, or at least into
a position where the attempt will be heavily contested.
Brewer will play with Joakim Noah. A defensive minded center, he never quite
had in Utah. Noah's energy and shot-blocking presence will allow Brewer to
free-roam more on the perimeter and creating havoc in the passing lanes. In
Utah, he was the team's most important defender since either Boozer or Mehmet
Okur was able to shield off the basket effectively. This will not be his burden
with the Bulls, making room for much more effective perimeter defense on his
have one glaring weakness, but luckily it will not be portrayed as much on this
Bulls team, and that's rebounding. Despite elite athleticism and leaping
ability, Brewer does not rebound well, grabbing fewer than three per game for
his career in over 26 minutes per night. Fortunately for him, Joakim Noah,
Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng are all good rebounders up front, which
should hide his weakness quite decently.
for the Bulls, the Brewer signing was as low-risk as possible. Guaranteed for
two years and only 50% guaranteed for this third year on a $13.78 million
contract ($12.78 million actually, seeing as $1 million was via a signing
bonus), Brewer came cheaper than the other two targets the Bulls looked at.
Redick was offered over $5 million more over the length of the deal, and
Anthony Morrow, a player who can shoot as well as anybody but does little else,
got comparable money from New Jersey when he signed for $12 million over three