NBA Trade Deadline: Ronnie Brewer an Underrated Acquistion for Thunder
In a relatively quiet deadline, the Oklahoma City Thunder made two minor moves, sending point guard Eric Maynor to the Portland Trail Blazers and acquiring forward Ronnie Brewer from the New York Knicks.
Brewer, who averaged just 3.6 PPG and 2.2 RPG on 36.6% shooting with the Knicks, has seen sporadic minutes since the season began. Averaging career lows pretty much across the board, Brewer was struggling to find his niche within a complex New York team, but ultimately could not carve out an effective role, as the Knicks appear stocked with competent wing players.
However, this tumultuous season may be approaching some promise, as Brewer seems to be a significantly better fit in Oklahoma City.
While Brewer has never been an offensive force in his career, the Arkansas product can be a solid role player in the right system.
Luckily for Brewer, the Thunder won't be asking him to score in double figures on a nightly basis due to a collection of young assets such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka along with veteran sixth man Kevin Martin.
However, Brewer will certainly help on the defensive end, as he has proven throughout his career that he is a capable defender.
With the help of Brewer, the Thunder now can have a new dimension. Oklahoma City has never had a true backup small forward to complement Durant, but now has Brewer to serve this particular role.
By adding Brewer, the Thunder now have a high energy defender off the bench that can serve a similar role as teammate Thabo Sefolosha does at the shooting guard position, locking down the opposing threat while scoring occasionally on offense.
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The acquisition of Brewer will directly help the Thunder against a team such as their new-found rival Miami Heat.
The Heat tend to play a lot of smaller lineups, as they tend to shy away from playing with a true center. Miami's smaller lineup proved to be effective against the Thunder last season, as the Heat were able to space the floor and players such as Shane Battier, Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers stepped up and hit three pointers at opportune times.
With the addition of Brewer, the Thunder will finally be able to answer this threat. A smaller lineup featuring Westbrook, Sefolosha, Brewer, Durant and Ibaka would counter the small lineup the Heat tend to use effectively. When Durant sits, Brewer can guard LeBron, whereas before the undersized Sefolosha would attempt to stop him. While Sefolosha is a great defender, James was able to take advantage of a clear size mismatch. With Brewer in the fold, the Thunder stand a better chance of beating Miami and seeking revenge by winning a title.
Adding a quality player like Brewer who plays solid defense and can contribute off the bench seems like a solid fit for the Thunder, as the team attempts to collect solid wing defenders to counter LeBron James.
Brewer is only making the veteran's minimum on a one-year contract and the Thunder sacrificed just a 2014 second round pick for the swing-man, so it's clear that the trade was worth the risk.
Although Brewer is definitely having a down year, a change of scenery might be the answer for reviving his defensive abilities, and this is certainly a worthwhile risk for the Thunder.
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