The Knicks addressed one of their biggest remaining needs yesterday when they agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent shooting guard Ronnie Brewer.
“New York Knicks lets get it!!!” Brewer tweeted yesterday afternoon.
Brewer’s agent, Henry Thomas, confirmed the move, which gives the Knicks a second veteran at the position to pair with J.R. Smith, as well as a strong perimeter defender who can play against scoring wing players at either shooting guard or small forward.
Ronnie Brewer update. He says he sees a lot of potential in the team and that's why he chose the Knicks.
Potential means a lot to Ronnie Brewer. That was the word he used multiple times Thursday in explaining why he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Knicks this week.
Brewer sees the Knicks building for success now, not the future. He noticed that was why the free agents Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd all joined the team earlier this month.
Brewer also realizes the potential he has as one of the Knicks’ shooting guards next season. The Knicks felt Brewer was one of the last assets they needed to compete with the growing competition in the Eastern Conference, and he should fit easily into Coach Mike Woodson’s system as a guard ready to defend the opponent’s best player with the ability to score when necessary, whether in limited minutes or as the starter.
“When I looked at New York, and its fans, I saw they had a great team,” Brewer said in an interview with Sports Radio 66 WFAN NY. “I felt like it was a place I could come in and play well. I think the fans will respect my skill level.”
Brewer said he didn’t know if he will be the Knicks’ starting shooting guard. He will be competing for the opportunity, mostly with J.R. Smith, when the team begins training camp. Iman Shumpert started 35 games last year during his rookie season, but tore his anterior cruciate ligament and the lateral meniscus in his left knee during the Knicks’ playoff series against the Miami Heat. Shumpert is expected to be out until January.
“The Knicks are a playoff team and will be competing for something,” said Henry Thomas, Brewer’s agent. “I think Ronnie will have an opportunity to ply a lot of minutes.”
The 27-year-old Brewer said he doesn’t mind coming off the bench if that’s what Woodson wants. In last year’s lockout-shortened season, Brewer started 43 games for the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. In his career, Brewer has shot 50 percent from field.
Brewer’s said his versatility — as a rebounder, a defender and a solid shooter — will allow him to help the Knicks win games in various ways.
“The Knicks had a good team before I got there,” Brewer said. “I’m just trying to come here and add whatever is needed.”
On most nights, Brewer knows what Woodson and fans will want from him: defense.
In the Eastern Conference, Brewer will be asked to guard players such as Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson — all scorers the Knicks will likely have to limit if they want to advance in the playoffs.
Right now, the Knicks are a team full of offensive threats. With Tyson Chandler, last season’s defensive player of the year, in the paint, Brewer said his addition on the perimeter should help the Knicks become a top-tier defensive team.
“I think everybody on the team has the ability to play defense,” Brewer said. “We’re athletic enough to do it. We have to want to do it as a team.”
Thomas said he believes Brewer can help the Knicks’ offense in more subtle fashion. “When the team goes small, he could play the small forward spot,” Thomas said. “He has the ability to move very well without the ball. That’s something New York is going to find out about him.”
Brewer acknowledged that he could have received a bigger contract from other teams. Thomas said the Minnesota Timberwolves were aggressive in pursuing him.
But Brewer wants to win now. “To me, it didn’t come down to money,” he said. “We have some star power. I think everyone’s excited. I’m looking forward to it.”
I think we can follow use a tactic that Miami uses: Being able to throw multiple looks and defenders at teams. Miami did it with LeBron, Battier and Miler. I think we can actually do the same. In fact, I think we can perfect it even more because w can do it with our perimeter players AND our big men now. Teams, and especially their star players, don't get a reak now when we go to the bench. Once Shump goes to the bench, we can throw a fresh Brewer at a guy, and a fresh JR as well. Plus, as the quotes suggest, Ronnie imoes well without the ball. He slashes and gets easy dunks. He's like a quicker Bill Walker pre-D'Antoni making him into a jumpshooter. That coupled with JR's streaky, yet dangerous, scoring ability helps to solidify our bench. We can also throw multiple looks defensively at teams with Chandler and Camby.