NBA Free Agency: New Chicago Bulls Guard Ronnie Brewer Future All-Star?

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NBA Free Agency: New Chicago Bulls Guard Ronnie Brewer Future All-Star?
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For those who blinked in the past 24 hours, the Chicago Bulls immediately changed direction in their pursuit of a shooting guard, shifting from the Orlando Magic's J.J. Redick to the Memphis Grizzlies' (and formerly the Jazz's) Ronnie Brewer.

The Magic matched the three-year, nearly $20 million deal for Redick, which threw a wrench into the Bulls' plan of flanking star point guard Derrick Rose with two lethal shooters from long distance.

With the pool of available shooting guards so shallow, and the Bulls losing out on potential targets while Redick's offer sheet handicapped their cap space, it seemed as if Chicago would be stuck without a legitimate shooting guard.

It was a glaring hole last season and it would be a disadvantage in 2010-11 as well.

Rest assured, Ronnie Brewer is a more than satisfactory consolation prize.

In fact, Sam Smith of Bulls.com had this to say about Chicago's latest free agent addition:

"Because of his athletic ability and work ethic, he’s been regarded by some as a potential All-Star after being the No. 14 pick in the 2006 draft. He’s probably not quite at that level because of his lack of a long distance shooting stroke, but for the Bulls needs he seems an ideal fit because of his defensive proficiency and aggressiveness in the open court."

 

A possible All-Star? For $12.5 million over three years? I'll take it.

Redick might be the hotter name, but Brewer is the better value. The Bulls could look back on the matched offer sheet as a blessing in disguise.

Redick dominates Brewer when it comes to outside shooting. That's a fact. Brewer, who has an unconventional shooting stroke because of an accident earlier in his life, doesn't even make close to 30 percent of his treys.

The comparison becomes much more interesting, however, when overall shooting percentage is taken into consideration.

In his NBA career, Brewer has shot 52 percent from the field and averaged more than 10 points per game. 

Redick, by comparison, is a career 42 percent shooter and averages seven points per contest.

Don't forget, shooting is supposed to be where Redick has a huge advantage over Brewer. Maybe from downtown, but not overall.

In terms of sheer size, Brewer has Redick beat. Redick is 6'4'' and 190 pounds, while Brewer is 6'7'' and 227 pounds.

While experts and scouts alike have praised Redick's improved defense, you can't teach size or length, and Brewer has them both. It's no surprise he was seventh in the league in steals in 2008-09, his last full season of play.

It's hard not to think about the potential matchup with the Miami Heat when making free agent acquisitions. Adding Brewer will go a long way in shutting down the Big Three.

Redick can't guard Dwyane Wade, and definitely can't guard LeBron James. 

Brewer can definitely guard Wade, and could make life difficult for James.

Look, if the Bulls need shooting, they can sub in Kyle Korver. A team can never have enough shooting, but the same can be said about defense.

Plus, if Rose is telling the truth, he has developed a consistent three-point shot of his own, which could potentially be set up by the slashing of Brewer and Luol Deng.

Which leads to the final reason Brewer may ultimately be better for the Bulls than Redick: He can handle the ball.

In fact, Brewer was considered a combo guard coming out of college, where he was in charge of a lot of Arkansas' ballhandling duties.

He's not going to be a backup point guard for the Bulls. He will never be asked to be the primary ballhandler on the floor.

However, he can play the same role as Kirk Hinrich did alongside Rose, and that is occasionally bringing the ball up the court. Brewer should be comfortable enough to start the fastbreak on his own.

Brewer has all the tools to be a successful starting shooting guard with the Bulls, and if he commits to improving his jumper like Rose did this offseason, he won't have a glaring weakness in his game.

Saying he's a potential All-Star is premature and unsubstantiated. 

Still, he has shown he can score given the opportunity (13.7 points per game in 2008-09) and is a proven lockdown defender.

The only knock on him is he can't shoot well from three-point range.

Is that really such a bad tradeoff?

If the Bulls can use the money they saved to add more quality pieces, Gar Forman and John Paxson should send a thank-you to Magic General Manager Otis Smith for matching the Bulls' offer to Redick.

Because they not only got an arguably better player, but now they have even more room to make their young team a threat in the Eastern Conference.

 

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