I’d entreat you to ask Dwyane Wade how that turned out in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Rather astounding set of statistics, here — with Brewer on Wade, the Dwyane Wade who proceeded to run wild in the finals averaged a paltry 15 points a contest on abysmal shooting and rare free throws. THAT’S how guards can impact the court — by keeping stars like Wade both off the line and out of rhythm, Brewer and other perimeter stoppers can do incredibly valuable things for any team willing to take a shot on them. Which brings us to his role next year, on the Knicks. Why, exactly, didn’t anyone else pick him up? Seriously. Look at the contract he got — a single year at the minimum. This guy is still in his mid twenties, just played 25 MPG as a primary perimeter stopper for one of the best defenses in the league, and is barely a year removed from being played extended minutes on shutdown duty in the Eastern Conference Finals. And you’re telling me nobody was willing to give him more than the minimum? Insane. I think his impact on this Knicks team will be far more broad than most think, so long as he can keep from chucking up random shots. Counterintuitively, being a team featuring ball-dominant iso-heavy players may actually help him achieve that goal. If Melo and Amare are freezing him out on every possession, he essentially has no choice but to play his solid defense and fade into the ether on offense. Which means he can focus on what he’s good at and play to his strengths. Brewer can produce everything Shumpert gave this team, and a little bit more. And in my view? He’s the only new Knick that actively improves their bottom line. So yeah. I do think Knicks fans should be excited about Brewer. He was a major cog on a team that’s won about 75% of their games over the past 2 seasons, and they got him for the minimum at their weakest position. An exciting pickup, to be sure.
As Aaron points out, defense is a game-changer. It’s for this reason I’m ecstatic about the pickup. Brewer can change a game, Shumpert can change a game. When December/January roles around and Shumpert is back at full health, the Knicks will have two interchangeable game-changing defenders – something non-existent on teams of the recent past.