NBA Roundtable

Bulls Sign Ronnie Brewer

In Free Agency on July 17, 2010 at 7:17 am

ESPN reports

The Chicago Bulls agreed to a deal with unrestricted free-agent shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, his agent said.It’s a three-year deal worth $12.5 million, although the third year is not guaranteed.

The Chicago Bulls agreed to a deal with unrestricted free-agent shooting guard Ronnie Brewer, his agent said.It’s a three-year deal worth $12.5 million, although the third year is not guaranteed.

A couple of notes

  • Brewer will get to play alongside former teammates Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver
  • Brewer was told that he will have the opportunity to play of the starting two guard position

Bulls GM also adds

Brewer didn’t get a chance to bring the ball up the floor much in Utah because he played with former Illinois star Deron Williams, but Thomas believes that if Rose ever needs a breather, Brewer wouldn’t have any problems handling the ball.

“He’s definitely capable,” Thomas said, noting that Bulls GM Gar Forman scouted Brewer while he was at Arkansas, playing a type of “point-forward” role.

Brewer’s defensive prowess is one of the major reasons Forman decided to lock him up, and Thomas is confident that his client’s skills will impress new Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Ronnie Brewer

Quick note on his skill-set

  • Defense — a good but unexceptional man-to-man defender + and a very good to  excellent team defender. Excellent at playing the passing lanes and creating turnovers.
    • Under Tom Thibodeau, I think Brewer is going to take that next step and become a legitimate stopper.
  • Rebounding — mediocre rebounder for a shooting guard + poor rebounder for a small forward
  • Scoring — has worked diligently on his jump shot over the past few years and has made some progress on it but unfortunately it’s still a major weak point in his arsenal. Worse still, Brewer is now more willing to take jump shots which has lowered his scoring efficiency in a big way (TS% down from 60% to 53% as result). Brewer’s main value, in terms of scoring, comes from his ability to get easy baskets in the paint. He creates those baskets in transition opportunities + excellent movement (cutting) off the ball.
  • Ball-handling + passing — I have never seen anything more than rudimentary level skills from Brewer in either department.

Fit?

I don’t like the fit. I thought Chicago need a jump shooter and preferably someone who can handle the ball too to play alongside Derrick Rose and Luol Deng.

  • Derrick Rose is a good midrange and long two point jump shooter. He has limited range though. Appearently, Rose has been working on adding a three point shot to his repertoire this summer.
  • Luol Deng has a reputation for a great midrange shooter but that reputation isn’t accurate. Deng is a mediocre midrange jump shooter who’s offensive value stems (like Brewer) from his ability to get easy shots down in the paint. Mainly from his movement without the basketball, curling off screens to the rim and cuts off the ball. Also transition opportunities.

I think Deng and Brewer are two similar offensively, like Kirilenko and Brewer were in Utah (only without a jump shooting center like Memo Okur to spread the floor), to be an effective pairing offensively. They’ll be a lot of fun to watch defensively but their offensive limitations will hurt the Bulls in a major way come playoff time when they’re facing an elite defensive team like the Celtics or Magic.

Consequently, I don’t like the fit. I think the Bulls need to be actively looking to upgrade Brewer in the trade market over the next 6-8 months.

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  1. Dave,

    I will have to respectfully disagree.

    There just isn’t very much quality left when you look at the list of still availabe wing players who can play adequate defense. Once the Bulls signed a player like Korver, as their “designated shooter”, they needed to go out and get the best rebounder/defender they could find, with decent size and quickness, to give them decent back-up minutes at both the OG and SF positions. At the salary he commands, there just isn’t another youngish player out there who is any better than Ronnie Brewer.

  2. Hey Khandor,

    I understand where you’re coming from on that line of thinking and I agree that Brewer is the best young defender and all-round wing player available in free agency.

    Good player, cost effective contract, a useful addition who’ll improve their team + not a lot of alternative options in free agency and none which scream out as a better use of their cap space.

    That strategy has got a lot of merit … but what I would have liked to have seen Chicago do was …

    My Preference On Using The Cap Space

    I thought the Bulls would have had a better opportunity to use their cap space in a trade during the season rather then spending it now on Ronnie Brewer (talented player but not a great fit due to his offensive limitations).

    I thought that would have been a better use of the cap space.

    In-Season Cap Space

    Chicago had about $13 million in cap space prior to the signing of Ronnie Brewer. They would have had to spend $5 million on minimum contracts (6 players at $825k apiece) to fill out the roster to begin the season so that would have left them with $8 million in cap space.

    The Bulls could use that cap space (1) by it’s lonesome to accept a contract up to $8 million (2) In combination with another player to accept a larger contract in return (3) In combination with various assets, like young players or draft picks, which along with the cap space (instant financial savings) would have been a very attractive package.

    I thought being patient and exploring those opportunities during the season would have likely brought the Bulls a much better opportunity than the signing of Ronnie Brewer.

  3. Dave,

    Likewise, I also hear what you’re saying with your “preferred choice” for the Bulls this season.

    My question to you is this:

    Do you not think that Chicago still remains in a fairly decent situation, as far as being able to make other/more transactions, as the season unfolds, given their relatively small $$$ [$12.5 M over 3 years]/short term commitment to Brewer and the open spots on their roster?

  4. Hey Khandor,

    Yeah, yeah, absolutely. The Bulls are still in a good place (to improve the roster).

    I just would have chosen the second option because I’m not wild about the fit (offensively). I prefer the flexibility they had pre-signing rather than post-signing given the limitations of a Brewer + Deng partnership.

    —————————————–

    On a final note — Chicago needs to be careful how they spend their remaining cap space. They could waste a good opportunity here (trade vs free agency). It’ll be interesting to see how the Bulls front office handles this next step.

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