Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Knicks Fill Major Need By Signing Ronnie Brewer
The Knicks' roster continued to take proper shape on Tuesday as the team came to terms with former Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer on a one year contract.
It may be viewed by some fans as simply another domino falling in the Knicks' offseason plan of putting the right pieces in place, but Brewer is more than that. He's the perfect fit.
Brewer is exactly the type of player the Knicks needed in order to cap off a solid summer of acquisitions. As I noted in my latest work for The New York Times, the team was in desperate need of an extra shooting guard. It was important another wing come to the Big Apple, not only to help balance out the starting lineup, but to keep J.R. Smith and his offensive explosiveness on the bench.
Smith provides the Knicks with a significant boost every time he comes off the pine. Should he start on a regular basis, his offensive prowess would not only be lost amongst the stars, but he would also stand to take away significant touches from teammates like Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
By bringing in Brewer, New York added a defensive-minded guard who is able to match up with some of the league's better offensive talents. He'll do a nice job filling in for Iman Shumpert until "The Rook" returns from his knee injury sometime in January.
Though Shump made strides last season and looked to be poised to take on a starting role, there's no denying the impact he had coming off the bench as a member of "Mobb Deep." With Brewer now in the fold, the Knicks' coaching staff has the ability to mix and match, playing with different lineups. Certain match-ups may call for Shumpert to help pace the second unit. There are certainly enough possibilities.
Signing for the veteran's minimum of approximately $1.4 million (all the Knicks really had to offer), the 27 year-old Brewer represents an excellent bargain. Signing a player of his caliber for that price is surely a steal. He's coming off a season in which he started 43 of 66 games for the best team in the Eastern Conference, boasting averages of 6.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 43% from the field.
Brewer's ability to play well without the ball, in addition to his steady defense, will help him mesh nicely with many of the Knicks' offensively-dominant players. That said, many of the team's fans were calling for a guard with a better shooting ability, ala Randy Foye.
Brewer has no problem getting to the basket effectively, but he lacks a consistent shooting touch from long range. Thus, when putting Brewer or Shumpert on the floor, the Knicks will still lack that guard who can help spread the floor and create better spacing for his teammates. Landry Fields wasn't the best shooter from deep, but his offensive abilities still appear to surpass those of Brewer.
Having recognized that, it's tough to argue how stupendous an acquisition Brewer is for the price. The Knicks were justified in allowing Fields to flock to Toronto after signing his lucrative offer sheet. For the little the team loses on the court in playing Brewer in place of Fields, they'll gain in peace of mind (in regard to not matching Fields' offer) seeing how capable of a replacement Brewer will be.