Ronnie Brewer followed in his father’s footsteps by playing shooting guard at the University of Arkansas, before getting drafted to the NBA. Brewer had high expectations when he was drafted with a lottery pick by the Utah Jazz in the 2006 NBA Draft. Through his first three seasons, Brewer looked like a solid NBA starter, but a trade to the Memphis Grizzlies derailed much of his success. After a stint in Memphis marred by injuries, Brewer signed with the Chicago Bulls where he played a variety of roles, including a stretch at the beginning of this past season where he was the starting shooting guard for first place Chicago. Ultimately, however, Brewer fell out of favor in Chicago to the point where he only played 16 minutes per game. Now Brewer is looking for a fresh start for the Knicks.
Brewer is known for his awkward looking shooting motion. His shot isn’t by choice; he has had difficulty with his shooting motion ever since a childhood injury. Because of this, Brewer has struggled shooting, particularly beyond 15 feet. He also struggles from the free throw line. Brewer may not be a scorer, but he has the ability to contribute offensively. He is excellent at finishing inside the basket and is prone to getting highlight dunks. Brewer is not great at driving inside to get to the basket, but he has shown the ability to handle transition passes and convert them into dunks. Brewer has shown adequate at ball handling and passing, but isn’t necessarily a playmaker. Brewer has shown the ability to grab offensive rebounds and can be very efficient in attempts off of the offensive glass. If Brewer could develop more consistency with his shot, he can be a very productive player, but unfortunately, he has struggled to do so throughout his entire career
Defensively is where Ronnie Brewer shines as a player. Brewer has shown excellent ability as a perimeter defender, being able to slow down a many of the league’s shooting guards and small forwards. Brewer, though, is not a shutdown defender who can limit the league’s best perimeter scorers on his own. Although he displays good quickness and strength, he does not possess the elite physical attributes required to be an All-Defensive Player. Still, Brewer has versatility on the defensive end, being able to defend multiple positions. He even has some post defense skills, although these are rather limited. Brewer excels in transition defense and also is an adequate defensive rebounder. While he may not be the defensive centerpiece of a team, Brewer can be an essential part of a team’s defense and will certainly bring those skills to the Knicks this season
Brewer’s role of the team may have been diminished by a knee injury that will keep him out for most of training camp. Hopefully for the Knicks, Brewer can get healthy before the season starts, so that he can assume his role as one of the primary shooting guards while Iman Shumpert recovers from ACL surgery. Brewer and J.R. Smith form an interesting shooting guard combo, as Smith focuses on scoring, while Brewer prefers to play without the ball. Mike Woodson’s relationship with Smith will likely see Brewer lose some minutes at shooting guard, but Brewer can still be a valuable piece for the Knicks. While Iman Shumpert is out, Brewer will assume the role of primary perimeter defender, likely being asked to cover the opposition’s top perimeter scorer in key defensive sets. Even when Shumpert returns, Brewer can backup Carmelo Anthony at small forward, possibly creating a very interesting duo with Shumpert. The Knicks should not, and will not, rely on Brewer on the offensive end, as Brewer will likely play the offensive role that Landry Fields played last season with cuts to the basket and other off-ball movements. Brewer may never be a key player for the Knicks, but his versatility will always give him minutes, as he can play multiple roles for a Knicks team that can very easily be banged up with injuries.