Ronnie Brewer was signed last season, along with Kyle Korver and Keith Bogans to bring some life to the shooting guard position. The trio failed to do so. Yet, Ronnie Brewer deserves another chance.
Hear me out. It is my belief that the Bulls are very, very close to being a Championship caliber club. Look, the only player on the Bulls to have experience late in the playoffs last year was the White Mamba. And there was a huge gap at shooting guard.
The Bulls, and especially Derrick Rose, got plenty of playoff experience last year. If they had a shooting guard, the Bulls should be able to compete. At the very least, they should wait at least one season to see if experience and a competent shooting guard can be the difference maker before blowing up the roster in an effort to land a player like Dwight Howard.
The Bulls really don't need a superstar or All-Star at the two guard spot to win the Championship. They need a player who can step in and average 12-16 points a game to keep defenses honest.
12-16 points a night forces defenses to acknowledge whoever the two guard is, and will prevent Derrick Rose from being double teamed. The shooting guard also must be capable of defending and playing in transition, two of the staples of the current Bulls regime.
And that's where Ronnie Brewer comes in. He can meet each aspect of that criteria, and then some. R-Brew plays a much bigger role for the Bulls than he will ever get credit for. A comment on an article I wrote months ago (sorry I forgot who it was) likened Brewer to a guard version of Joakim Noah in terms of energy.
Yes, he is only a career 51% shooter, and converts only 23% of his shots from down-town, but that is not his game. It doesn't need to be. Kyle Korver is the Bulls designated shooter, and he gets paid five million a year for that specific purpose.
Plus, with an expected extended offseason due to the lockout, coupled with Derrick Rose's work ethic, I could see Rose come back as a 40% three point shooter.
With long range shooting coming from Rose, Korver and Deng, Brewer does not need to be a shooter. His game is different, but it fits what the Bulls need. And that's why he could be the solution to their shooting guard woes.
Earlier, I defined three characteristics that would constitute a competent Bulls shooting guard that would solve the problem: 12-16 PPG, defense, and transition.
First, let's look at defense. As one of the best, if not the best defender on the team, Ronnie Brewer is a vital asset throughout the season. He's even more important against Miami when Wade and King Crybaby come to town. With his 6'7'' wingspan, he proved time and time again during the season that he can shut down top-flight scorers.
Brewer also contributes to the team defense in other categories. He has exceedingly quick hands, and has proven to be able to steal the ball consistently. With an average of 1.3 steals a game, Brewer could be considered as one of the top "steal-men" in the NBA.
Would Ronnie Brewer starting be an improvement at shooting guard?
The next aspect of which a Bulls shooting guard must be able to do, especially playing alongside Derrick Rose, is play in transition. Brewer scores in transition every game on break-aways due to his steals, but proved to utilize his teammates as well. After all, he did throw that thunderous ally-oop to Derrick Rose in transition that ESPN played for weeks.
Despite defense and transition being important for a potential shooting guard, the most important criteria is scoring. And Brewer should be able to meet the 12-16 point goal. First off, Brewer is practically guaranteed to score a couple per game in transition as a result of his steals.
Brewer is also extremely apt at working the baseline and baseline screens to get open down low. That is also good for a couple points a game, and huge dunks over Josh McRoberts.
But between the two, Brewer only gets 6 points a game. That's what he averaged this season. But that was only in 22 minutes per game. If Brewer is to get more minutes per game, he will score more in these two ways. And of course, his average will jump as well.
Between the transition and work on the baseline, Brewer's shooting generally improved throughout the season. Throw in a couple of points off shooting, in addition to openings created by Derrick Rose, and his average will increase even more.
In the end, as a starter and 35 minute a game player, Ronnie Brewer could definitely be the answer to the Bulls shooting guard woes. His defense and transition skills fit perfectly into what the Bulls need out of the position. Brewer's shooting problems from down town aren't that big of an issue due to the shooting of Rose, Korver, and Deng.
Scoring 12-16 points a game is all that really matters for a shooting guard, and Brewer should be able to do so between his baseline work, transition, shooting, and openings created by Derrick Rose. So as a result, why wouldn't he be the solution?