Ronnie Brewer is one of the worst shooting shooting guards in the NBA. He is also one of the best guarding guards in the league. So what exactly should we call him? There is no position called a guarding guard. Which brings up the point of NBA position names. What does the word guard have to do with what guards do in basketball? Shouldn't centers be called guards because they guard the basket? What do forwards do? Did Dr. Naismith steal the term from soccer? But that is another topic for another day. Today we are recapping Ronnie Brewer's season.
NOT EVEN MONTA ELLIS CAN BELIEVE RONNIE BREWERS ATHLETICISM
I get the feeling that Jazz fans are split about Ronnie Brewer's future with the Jazz. I don't think anyone can question his athleticism, his hustle, or his defensive abilities. But more than anyone's name besides Boozer, Brewer has come up in discussions of players the Jazz need to move this summer. Why is that? Because the Jazz need a real shooter at shooting guard. And because Kobe Bryant humiliated us by pretending Ronnie Brewer had "cooties" during the playoffs the last two seasons. Lets move Ronnie Brewer and get Kevin Martin or Michael Redd in here, because that will solve our problems.
If you feel this way, I want you to stop and think for a minute. Two years ago after we were decimated by Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs, what were you calling for during that summer? If you are honest with yourself, you will answer, "a guy who can guard other teams shooting guards." That year, not only did Manu Ginobili rip us, but several two guards during the season lit us up, with Derek Fisher getting most of the assignments.
We now have our defensive stopper. Ronnie Brewer has gone from arguably the team's best defender, to the team's best defender. He has taken on the mentality of the stopper. He says the right things off the court in interviews and he knows that he is only going to get playing time through hard work, hustle and defense. He is the anti-Fesenko. And now some fans want to trade him for a shooter. Fine. But why can't we just call Brewer a wing and bring in a good shooting guard and move him to the 3? We would miss Brewer desparately if we moved him, unless we found a shooter who could lock down opponents too, but Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Lebron James are all unavailable and make 10 times the money that Ronnie makes.
Think about that for a minute. Ronnie Brewer made less than $2 million this year and will cost less than $3 million this season. And he averaged 14 points and 3 rebounds while shooting over 50% from the field. In a time when the Jazz are trying desparately to avoid the luxury tax, he is a bargain financially. To put it into perspective, Brewer had a similar offensive season as Tayshaun Prince, played arguably similar defense and played at 1/4 of the cost. But Tayshaun can shoot, so is he worth it?
I am not going to recap Brewer's season as an offensive success. If Brewer is going to play for the Jazz, we need to have other shooters on the floor that can allow him to penetrate and attack the basket. The series with the Lakers showed us that. But if you ask me, we don't need to have Okur to make Brewer useful. We would just need an upgrade at the other wing position. And he is an awful free throw shooter right now and a below average rebounder. Those two things need to change. But he is becoming an elite perimeter defender and one common thread in the several past championship teams is an elite perimeter defender. And if we added a shot blocker down low and people were more hesitant to attack the rim, Brewer would only get that much better. Can he defend as well as James Posey, Bruce Bowen, Tayshaun Prince, Ron Harper, or Scottie Pippen? I will leave that up to you to decide.
But for a hint, go check out the amount of free throws Kobe Bryant shot this year in the playoffs compared to the free throws Kobe, McGrady, and Manu shot the last two postseasons.