Ronnie Brewer: The Most Unknown Dunkmaster
My mom says, "He can jump out of the building." She is probably right, although I think most would prefer he stay within the confines of Energy Solutions Arena.
Ronnie became a starter on the Utah Jazz at the shooting guard position during the 2007-2008 season. It was just his second year in the league and he has not relinquished this starting job since, even with the New Year's Eve addition of sharp shooter and fan favorite Kyle Korver.
Ronnie is absolutely one of the most athletic ballers in the league. Unfortunately, since he plays for the Jazz in small-market Utah many people still don't know he had more dunks than LeBron James last season.
Ronnie Brewer had the highest field goal percentage among shooting guards last season at 56 percent. This is largely because most of his shots come from dunks or layups. His slashing ability rivals that of Rip Hamilton, and he moves brilliantly without the ball.
Add that to the fact that he plays alongside Deron Williams, arguably the best ball distributor in the league. It's no wonder this tandem translates into several fancy alley-oops and fast-break dunks per game.
Brewer definitely does benefit from Deron's court vision, but this is no knock on his ability to see the pass before it happens and connect. After that, like Craig Bolerjack says, "Exclamation point!"
Ronnie's dunking abilities may have gone largely unnoticed, but his defensive skills and maturity as a player from his rookie season to his sophomore was substantial. There was no sophomore slump—more like a sophomore jump.
Ronnie averaged nearly two steals per game last year at 1.7. His athleticism also enables him to stay in front of most players. But since he is also guarding the Kobes and TMacs of the league most times, he has his work cut out for him.
I, like many Jazz fans, saw Kobe run by Brewer repeatedly in last year's playoffs. But this wasn't due to lack of effort; it's Kobe freakin' Bryant.
Fortunately, Brewer has bulked up in the offseason and put on around 15 pounds of pure muscle. He says it is to help him defend those dangerous players on other teams that usually play the shooting guard position and have on occasion torched the Jazz.
Think Micheal Redd, Gilbert Arenas, Tracy McGrady, and of course Mr. Bryant. All of them have had 40+ point games against the Jazz, some on several occasions.
The Jazz played the Lakers and won yesterday in Anaheim in the first preseason meeting for both teams on Oct. 7, 2008. Ronnie had six dunks and his vertical looks like it has improved, if that is even humanly possible. The added muscle does not appear to have diminished his speed or athleticism at all.
At the recent preseason scrimmage at Energy Solutions Arena my friend posed a question. "When are you going to be in the dunk contest?" Ronnie replied, "As soon as they let me."
2009 slam dunk contestant? He certainly has the necessary goods.
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