While the New York Knicks have drastically changed their roster for the 2012-13 season, bringing in the likes of Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Raymond Felton, James White and others, perhaps the best move general manager Glen Grunwald made was signing Ronnie Brewer to a one-year, $1.4 million contract.
As soon as it was announced that the Chicago Bulls would be letting Brewer walk, he’s the one guy I had my eye on and Grunwald had the same idea.
But what exactly does Brewer bring to the Knicks and what role will he play during the 2012-13 campaign?
First of all, Brewer is a versatile player, who at 6’7″ can play either the 2 or 3 and has both started and come off the bench, so he will be fine in any role head coach Mike Woodson elects to use him in.
Initially, Brewer likely will be the starter at the 2, at least until Iman Shumpert returns from his knee injury suffered in the playoffs.
Starting Brewer accomplishes multiple things, but most importantly it allows Woodson to bring J.R. Smith’s scoring off the bench, a role he performed very well in during the 2012 regular season.
Brewer isn’t your prototypical shooting guard who will sit behind the arc and knock down a barrage of three’s, but instead is an outstanding on-ball defender who Woodson will love. Brewer played under another defensive guru in Tom Thibodeau in Chicago the past two years, so Woodson should use him similar.
The real value Brewer will bring is once Shumpert returns to the lineup.
His length and tenacity on the defensive end allows him to guard both 2’s and 3’s. He will draw the task of locking down the opposition’s best wing scorer and in a division that now has Joe Johnson, Andre Iguodala and Paul Pierce, the addition of Brewer could prove to be huge. In addition, with his ability to guard 3’s, Brewer allows Carmelo Anthony to possibly slide down to the 4 more often, where he had his greatest success last season.
With the firepower on the Knicks, Woodson doesn’t need him to score and he’s not a great shooter to begin with. But Brewer has the athleticism to fill the lane and finish on the fast break and relies on timely cuts to the basket in half-court sets for easy baskets and to keep defenses honest. That kind of sounds like the man he’s replacing in Landry Fields.
But the possibility of being able to play Shumpert and Brewer together with Camby and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler behind them in close games when the Knicks need a stop will be something Woodson didn’t have the luxury of turning to a season ago.
Knicks fans should love the way Brewer plays the game. He’s just a hard-nosed player who will do the little things needed to win games.
When it’s all said and done, it very well could be Brewer who proves to be the Knicks best acquisition during this offseason.
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