Jul 24 2012
Despite their flurry of off-season moves, the Knicks had yet to get their hands on a badly needed perimeter defender. They got one Tuesday, as they have signed ex-Chicago Bull Ronnie Brewer to a one year contract. Brewer will make $1,069,509 this season, the veterans minimum for Brewer who has played six NBA seasons. I like this move. It was imperative, especially with Iman Shumpert injured, that the Knicks go out and get a wing who can defend. Brewer has the versatility and athleticism to guard both 2′s and 3′s out on the wing. I really like some of the lineups you could roll out with Brewer on the floor. With Brewer on the court, the Knicks have the ability to play really big with Brewer at the 2, or they could play small with Brewer at the 3 and presumably Melo at the 4. Once Iman Shumpert returns, I think you could do a lot of interesting things schematically with Brewer. The Knicks could run both Brewer and Shumpert together, which would in theory give them an exceptionally strong perimeter defense.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, consistently strong outside shooting is still a need. For as good as Brewer is defensively, he’s equally as inept offensively. Brewer is athletic, but he is not a good outside shooter and really cannot create his own shot. Brewer is a career 24.4% 3 point shooter and shot 27.5% last season. He also is a poor free throw shooter as he shot 65% and 56% respectively over the past two seasons. As you’ll see, he has very poor form on his jump shot which has a lot to do with why they never go in. He is a pretty good ball handler for a big wing player, but Woodson’s system won’t tailor to that particular skill. Brewer’s best offensive asset is his ability to find open cuts to the basket, but we all know that Woodson’s system isn’t exactly tailored to that particular skill either. Woodson’s offense predicates around the best offensive players having the ball in their hands, this meaning Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Brewer would have been a good fit in the D’Antoni system that allows for point guards handling the ball and hitting cutters and open shooters. Offensively, Brewer is not a great fit here because he cannot shoot.
Overall, this is a steal for the Knicks. They got good value in Brewer, who made $4.7 million over each of his last two seasons in Chicago, as he signed for the veterans minimum. Landry Fields, a slightly inferior player to Brewer, got $9.1 million from Toronto, which makes the Brewer signing look even better. Brewer should be an upgrade over Fields. Neither player can shoot, and Brewer has even less of an offensive skill set than Fields. However, while Fields was a good defender, Brewer is a great defender. I think his impact defensively will far trump the mediocre offensive output that Landry Fields gave the Knicks last season. This is a good move for the New York Knicks.
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