New York Knicks: Ronnie Brewer Shaping Up as Best Value Signing of the Season

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIINovember 30, 2012

Nov 4, 2012; New York, NY, USA;  New York Knicks guard Ronnie Brewer (11) reacts against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won the game 100-84. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

For the New York Knicks, the past summer was all about building a supporting cast for their big three—Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.

After struggling last season to cope with injuries and a lack depth off the bench, the Knicks took action to fix this with the limited resources they had in front of them.

Whilst many focused on the supposed negatives—like the controversial departure of Jeremy Lin—the Knicks quietly built what is now one of the deepest rosters in the NBA.

With starters Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert out due to injury, a lot of the Knicks' early success has come from the new rotation players they brought in over the summer.

New signings like Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace have made a big difference with the minutes they've received so far, and it looks, so far, like New York did some fantastic work this offseason.

But possibly their most impressive signing of all—at least in relation to the size of his contract—has been Ronnie Brewer, who arrived in an under-the-radar move back in July.

Brewer has long been one of the most underrated players in the league—just ask any fan of the Bulls or Jazz—but his play this year has exceeded all expectations anyone could have had for him.

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For a player making the veteran's minimum, Brewer has been particularly impressive and a key part of the Knicks' rotation.

Thrust into the role of starting small forward, he has provided shut-down perimeter defense and has been a surprisingly effective player on the offensive end as well.

Though his jump shot lacks form due to a childhood injury, Brewer's agent told us he had improved his shooting over the summer—and has been proven right to this point.

At this point in the season, he is shooting a solid 44 percent from the field, and 40 percent from down town.

This combined with his knack for making timely cuts to the basket, Brewer is a great player to have on offense as a fourth or fifth option.

As ever, his passing has been on point too, as he takes on the role of the "glue guy" on a Knicks team that has embraced ball movement.

Having a player like Brewer, who can guard multiple positions and do a good job defensively on any wing player, has been a luxury for the Knicks in the absence of Shumpert. It's something that simply can't be found elsewhere in the NBA for so cheap.

Brewer is acting as the direct replacement for former fan-favorite Landry Fields—who signed a frankly ridiculous deal with the Toronto Raptors this summer—and so far has been a huge upgrade.

Though his numbers are anything but flashy, Brewer has clearly been an important piece for New York, providing those cliche intangibles that don't show up in the box score.

It's a great sign for the Knicks' championship credentials that a player of Brewer's caliber—in the prime of his career, no less—was happy to essentially take a pay cut to have a chance to compete in the Mecca of basketball.

There are more than a few underpaid players in the NBA today; you only have to look as far as J.R. Smith and his $2.8 million deal to find another one on the Knicks.

But to have a player doing what Brewer is doing on a minimum deal is nothing short of a steal, and the type of move that has made the Knicks one of the league's most impressive teams in these first few weeks.

Stats used in this article were accurate as of Nov. 30, 2012.


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