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Getting To Know Ronnie Brewer

 

As Red’s Army told us last night, a number of folks have reported the C’s are pursuing Ronnie Brewer. Brewer is an unrestricted free agent, he’s drawing lots of interest and he’s worth a lot more than the veteran’s minimum. The Celtics would have to work some sort of sign-and-trade to acquire him, and just to be clear, that sign-and-trade would have to be with the Grizzlies. Important note: Memphis retains Bird Rights on Brewer, meaning they can go over the cap to re-sign him. 

So our old friend Chris Wallace would have to help Boston out, and if the C’s intend to use Rasheed Wallace’s $6.3 million deal to nab Brewer, the Grizz might have to throw a second player in to make the salaries match. 

In other words: It’s tricky. But it’s not a ridiculous scenario, since the Grizz are always look to save some scratch and could do so by acquiring Sheed and then buying him out. 

So: Who the heck is Ronnie Brewer? And is he worth all of that trouble?

Save the five games Brewer played for the Grizz last season, he has spent his entire career in Utah, so you know he has learned the right things about being a role player in the NBA—moving without the ball, working hard on defense and fitting his talents within the team concept. 

He’s also young (just 25), so he has room to grow. Despite some underwhelming numbers (we’ll get to them), he’s clearly a better option than any of the guys the C’s could pick off the veteran’s minimum scrap heap. 

Some notes about Brewer:

• He’s 6’7” and he can play both shooting guard and small forward. He has split time between the two positions fairly equally in each of his four seasons in the league, according to 82games. (See here, here, here and here). 

• He appears to defend shooting guards better than he defends small forwards, which isn’t surprising given his size. Opposing SFs have put up a higher PER against Brewer than have opposing shooting guards in each of his four seasons in the league, according to 82games. For instance: Brewer held opposing shooting guards to a 12.9 PER last season, but threes put up a 21.9 PER against him. 

He should not be regarded as a potential LeBron stopper. 

• Brewer takes the bulk of his shots from two locations: At the rim and from the long two-point range, according to Hoopdata. He is not a three-point shooter.

An important question about Brewer: Can he get those at-the-rim looks—and finish them—outside of Utah’s motion offense? Brewer would be coming off the bench in Boston, so he would have to spend a lot of minutes on the floor without Rajon Rondo to break down defenses and create open looks. 

In each of his four seasons in the league, between 65 and 72 percent of Brewer’s baskets at the rim came after assists—a very high number for a wing player. Small forwards league-wide needed assists on about 55 percent of their at-the-rim hoops; the assisted-on number dropped to 49 percent for shooting guards, according to Hoopdata. 

So: Can Brewer attack the rim successfully outside of the Utah offense and without an elite point guard to initiate plays?

• Is Brewer really a good defender? He certainly looks like one. He’s quick and strong, he works his tail off, and league observers generally regard Brewer as a defensive standout. He passes my personal eye test, but the stats don’t back up his reputation as a stopper. 

Consider: The Jazz have allowed more points per 100 possessions with Brewer on the floor in each of the last three seasons, according to Basketball Value. (See numbers for 2008, 2009 and 2010). The stats at Basketball Prospectus show Brewer hasn’t made a dent in the production of his head-to-head-counterparts. He rebounds like Ray Allen. 

This is not to say that Brewer is a bad defensive player. Defense is as much (and probably more) about systems and five-man units as it is about individual talent, and the stats community readily admits that the stats we have to evaluate defense are imprecise. But the stats we do have don’t show Brewer to be an elite defender. 

Still: At 25 and with two double-digit scoring seasons on his resumé, Brewer would be a nice option for Boston, if only because it might be difficult to find a team willing to trade a comparable wing player under contract in exchange for Sheed and filler.

  • JP

    I think if they can get this to work they should definitely try it. It could help to have a quality wing like Brewer. I still think they need someone to back up Pierce though, and as the post states Brewer has a tougher time defending the small forwards in the League.

  • Scuba

    Something random I read somewhere about Brewer:

    Every year, the Utah Jazz coaching staff would have a competition on the team to see who could get the most deflections. The deflections didn’t need to lead to a steal or anything good, it was just indicative of hustle and knowing where to be. The winner would get a small (relative to them) bonus, $10,000 or something. Andrei Kirilenko won the contest every year for his first seven years in the league. In his last full season with the Jazz, Ronnie Brewer broke that streak.

    I think Ronnie Brewer has a similar-ish game to TA, but he’s younger and less prone to mistakes (less trick, more treat). Hopefully he could become a Lebron stopper within the Celtics defensive system.

    Also, I just found the link to the above story: http://es.pn/b31T1k
    It’s a blurb from TrueHoop, scroll down to “Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune” (I couldn’t find the full length article, but I read it when it first came out).

  • T

    If Brewer is worth about $4.5 million than our options with Memphis to fill out the trade are

    -Haddadi
    -Darrell Aurthur
    -DeMarre Carroll
    or
    - Any one of the three players mentioned above plus Sam Young

    If these guys are coming in to fill in spots 12-15 on the roster, I guess I could live with that

  • http://www.livefromapt.blogspot.com w2

    TA is a better defender than Ronnie Brewer and Boston is about defense.

    How about Corey Brewer!

  • Evan

    What about the idea that we could sign Brewer as part of a sign and trade for TA. We throw in a 2nd round pick and everyone is happy.

    Is Ronnie an elite athlete? Can he dunk the way TA can?

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    Brewer is a very good athlete, but I believe the TA s-and-t train has left the station.

  • http://causewaystrreethoops.com frances White

    Stats don’t meant anything. The Cavs had the best regualr season in the last two years and never got out of the second round. The Celtics finished the season playing 500 ball and finsihed their season in game 7 of the NBA Finals. so I would take Brewer for the Celtics, Stats be damned.

  • Jay P

    No he’s not a Lebron stopper, he doesn’t have the size. But you only need someone to play Wade OR Lebron, then you can match your rotations to when one of them is off the floor.

    Miami will most likely never have both Wade and Bron off the floor, both will be needed to facilitate offense since the Heat don’t have a real point guard. So a guy like Brewer can be used in rotations to spell either Paul or Ray (depending who Miami took out) and then alternate. Miami takes out Lebron, Brewer comes in for Paul, Lebron comes back in, Ray sits, Paul comes back in, Brewer goes over to the 2.

    It could work, there aren’t a lot of SFs in the league that are Lebron’s size, and I’m fairly confident he can guard just about all of the rest of them. Lebron stopper? No. Capable defender? Definitely.

  • Jay P

    @W2

    No ones arguing that, but I don’t see your point. Danny obviously made the choice this year that Boston’s defense is fine without TA (and that case certainly holds true, TA played 20% of minutes last year, and Boston’s defense finished 5, and their Playoff defense was #1, so they can definitely do it without him) but the second unit badly needed shooting and scoring.

    This is why their pushing to bring Nate back, and it’s why they let TA go. Brewer brings in a lot of positives to the bench, good mid-range game, capable of averaging 8-12 ppg off the bench, very capable defender.

    He’s pretty much the perfect roleplayer.

    Far as the numbers go, I think he’s definitely worth about 4.5mil, and hopefully they can get some size with that second filler. Damarre Carroll is I guy I wouldn’t mind seeing come over.

  • efstje

    can we keep nate, get brewer,barnes AND a big man???
    If we can we are freaking 2011 nba champs.Right??

  • SM Jenkins1

    I think Ronnie Brewer would be a fine second unit wing, but I actually would’ve liked the idea of TA for 3/$10M much more than Ronnie Brewer at 2/$9.5M or so, third year be damned (I can’t imagine a 3.3M figure in 2012-13 would be that consequential with two mammoth salaries coming off of the books then, Paul Pierce still in tow & Rajon Rondo firmly in his prime). However, what’s done is done & Tony Allen is a Memphis Grizzly & I think that Brewer (who I’ve always thought an appealing talent going back to his couple years at Arkansas), Nate Robinson & Avery Bradley would constitute a palatable backup guard mix.

  • SM Jenkins1

    I’m glad that Tony Allen’s emergence pre-injury in 2006-07 received some ink in the comments also. A lot of people seem to forget how well Allen was playing for that dreadful Boston edition before that ill-fated dunk attempt & just how devastating that injury was.

  • Berkcelt

    Danny would do well to get Brewer. I think I’d rather him over Josh Howard. And of those guys still available they seem to be at the top of the list.

    We’d still need another big guy/center, a wing and a pg. I think Nate is going to face the same situation as TA. We’ll see if 2 years are enough for him.

  • John Evans

    Just Curious, want a couple of opinions/views of how a Brewer/Matt Barnes Combo off the bench would work for the C’s

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    brewer = TA
    (BUT less mistake-prone, more consistent offensively, younger, better contract, a bit less physical)

    and if u thought TAs stroke was ugly…..brewer makes him look like ray allen…

  • Jay P

    Please for the love of god stop talking about Matt Barnes!

    People, it’s impossible. Barnes is not going to play for a minimum salary, and Orlando is not going to do ANYTHING to help Boston in a sign-and-trade. Please stop even saying his name, it will not happen!

  • Tom

    Are you guys really crazy about the guy? Have you seen the way he shoots the basketball? Do we really need another guy who can’t shoot to play with Rondo? Geez….

    On a side note, let’s bring back Eddie House,

  • Jeff

    If Danny can get Brewer for a trade, I do it for sure.

    I’d take Darrel Arthur in the trade because I think he’ll end up better than any of the other filler type guys.

    Then we can try for Barnes and or Mason. Barnes has the length for the SF’s in the league and Mason can bring the 3 ball to stretch the floor.

    If we got those three and Nate back then the wing is set.

    We could just see if we can get a vet min big man and the roster will be pretty well filled out.

  • Jay P

    @Tom

    I like him, he’s a proven scorer (has two double digit scoring years.) Granted, I’d much rather prefer a more natural shooter in the Barnes, Reddick, Crawford role out of the 6-man. But face it, we’re just not going to get a guy like that.

    I get the sentimentality on Eddie, but how does he help this team… at all?

    He’s too small, and not good enough on D to run out there with Nate. He routinely gets beat off the dribble on the perimeter, and is good at basically one thing, spot up shooting. Love his hustle, and he’s a great guy to have on the team, but he’s far too limited.

    Plus he’ll eat into Bradley’s minutes, and I want to see Bradley out there this year, he’s a up and comer and needs minutes to develop.

    There’s just no role for Eddie on this team, if they resign Nate.

  • Jay P

    Every time someone mentions the name Matt Barnes they should slap themselves in the face.

    Seriously stop dropping his name, it will not happen. It’s literally impossible, Orlando is not going to sing and trade, there is no way in hell they do anything to help the Celtics. And Barnes will not play for a minimum deal, it’s 100% impossible for Matt Barnes to come to the Celtics, please just stop mentioning his name.

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    @Jay P: If he wants to play for a title contender, he’s going to have to play for the minimum.

  • Jay P

    @Zach

    I will be literally shocked if Barnes signs a minimum deal anywhere. Shocked. He’s been on crappy contracts his whole career, and openly states he’s looking for money.

  • Coolin

    The C’s need to make the deal for the players with the Pacers, I can’t remember there names, but they are better than this deal.
    They also need to move on T-Mac, I won’t stop saying this until they do it. The guy has never been motivated and this team will do something none of them have and that is get 100% out of him.
    Kwame Brown is still welcome, just for his size.
    Lastly, they need to hold onto Nate Robinson no matter what. A.B. is not as good as Nate.

  • Rob

    I have a hard time understanding how doing a sign-and-trade with Sheed benefits Memphis financially at all. Right now, Brewer is an unrestricted free agent — it costs Memphis exactly $0 if they let him walk. So it’s not as if they’re clearing salary by trading for Sheed. In a sign-and-trade, you actually need to offer the signing team a *basketball asset* — it can’t just be a salary dump, since they’re not on the hook for any salary. Right?

  • Tom

    Eddie has the ability to change a game with his 3 point shooting (same with Nate), something TA or Brewer can’t do. (remember the lakers 08 series and Bulls series in 09). I think he has a role on this team, but it would be very limited. Bradley is too short, it wouldn’t surprise me if he turns into another Gabe Pruitt.

  • rob

    @jay p

    rumor has it that matt barnes is either going to the heat or our very own boston celtics and you know what that means? he’ll be taking the vets minimum.

  • Jay P

    I may have to eat my words then. I’m shocked if he does it. Never in a million years would have taken that bet.

  • Ryan

    Brewer isn’t the type of player the C’s need we just drafted Avery Bradley who is like TA but with shooting we need a pure wing like Antoine Wright or Rasaul Butler.

  • Jay P

    @Tom

    If Bradley is too short, then Eddie is too, in your argument.

    And Bradley gives you a more dynamic presence, he has a good wingspan at 6’7, and has the ability tog uard players slightly bigger than him at the 2. Eddie can’t do that.

    He is also incredibly athletic, has a huge vertical, can finish at the rim, and drive into the lane. Eddie can’t do any of that. Eddie can shoot, that’s it.

  • Tom

    Eddie has nothing to do with a wing man, that was another player that should be added to the team.

    You can learn from Big Baby and Leon that you can’t teach height no matter what.

  • Jay P

    @Tom

    …Who said anything about a wingman? What are you smoking dude.

    I said if they sign Nate, there’s no role for Eddie. Eddie can’t be in the court with Nate or Rondo, they wont be able to defense anyone. I said Bradley has the ability to guard bigger players, he potentially can be on the floor with those guys. Eddie can’t, period. The only way Eddie has any role is if they don’t have Nate and you let him play some point. Then even still you need a guy who can play some 2. If they get Brewer, maybe, but I don’t like Eddie at the point, he was never good there.

    Bottom line, there’s no role for him on this team.

  • http://www.livefromapt.blogspot.com w2

    @Jay P….Eddie is a catch and shoot guy and Nate can create his own shot. Arguabley they could play to gether on offense, but I totally agree with you that they could not play together on defense. Way too small.

    The TA decision sounds like a TA decision not a Danny decision. I would love to see the Ronnie Brewer you describe play for the Celtics…just color me unconvinced.

    We need an agitator on the wing for the playoffs. Nate is our scorer plus JO and Baby. Plenty of offense for my tastes. We need some perimeter D on the second unit. TA is not walkin through that door, but neither is Ronnie Brewer at 5 mil per.

  • John Evans

    Hopefully Matt Barnes decides to sign with the Celtics, then they can make a run at T-Mac(I think Doc can convince him 2 come to Boston) and then if sheed changes his mind on retiring our bench should be close to set

  • Shooter

    People how the hell are we going to get Barnes? He’s not playing for the vet min and he sucks.

  • Shooter

    STOP TALKING ABOUT BARNES HE WILL NOT PLAY FOR VET MIN,TAKE IT TO THE BANK!!!!!!!

  • HC

    Brewer is a solid defender and though his shot may not be pretty, he is more capable at scoring than many believe.

    He was never asked to score in Utah’s system with Deron Williams, Boozer, Okur, and Kirilenko on the floor. He broke his arm in 9th grade and tried to alter his shot to not allow his arm to bother him after the cast was off.

    I’ve never understood everyone’s obsession w/ TA. Brewer is a better defender….ask any player/scout/GM around the league.

    Memphis didn’t want to pay him $5M/year w/ Gay, Mayo, and now X. Henry all capable of playing the 2. Memphis needed a better defender than those listed and TA was comparable and cheaper than Brewer.

    If C’s can get Brewer it will be a great addition off the bench and I don’t think anyone will be thinking about TA come playoff time.

  • RBD

    One of your best recent pieces Zach. Really nice analysis.

  • rav

    @HC you’re wrong about TA’s defense. In fact, if you asked the GMs (which NBA.com does every offseason, it’s called the GM survey or something) they rated TA the 3rd best on-ball defender in the league. Brewer was not one of the two above him.

    It’s plain in the stats as well. Brewer can only guard SG well, while the shorter Tony is generally viewed as lockdown at both spots around the league, as a sort of Kobe-/Wade-stopper

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