Bulls add their shooting guard, Ronnie Brewer


Jul 16

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I’ll take being the Utah Jazz East–with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

The Bulls on Friday, according to NBA sources, agreed to a three-year deal with Ronnie Brewer, the former Utah Jazz starting shooting guard who is known as a fierce defender.

Assuming Brewer passes his physical exam, which is expected, the Bulls will fill out their starting five after the Orlando Magic announced Friday they will match the Bulls three-year offer sheet for restricted free agent shooting guard J.J. Redick.

The Bulls apparently edged out the Boston Celtics, who were trying to add Brewer as well.

Redick was viewed as a possible starter to go along with fellow long distance shooter Kyle Korver, another free agent signed from the Jazz, along with power forward Carlos Boozer.

Both Boozer and Korver spoke glowingly of Brewer and urged the Bulls to bring him to the team.

Brewer is not a high level three-point shooter to space the floor like Redick, but he is regarded as one of the league’s better perimeter defenders. He’s also a player who is excellent in running the court and in transition and dunking. That should work perhaps even better with Rose, as the Bulls also with Noah, Boozer and Luol Deng probably will be at their best as a running, transition team.

The addition of Brewer also brings in the key component of a player who can defend the high level shooting guards in the Eastern Conference, like Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Vince Carter, John Salmons, Stephen Jackson, Joe Johnson and perhaps Gilbert Arenas.

Brewer has a career scoring average of 10.3 and is a 52 percent shooter, though just 23.4 percent on threes. Brewer had a childhood accident which resulted in an injury to his right, shooting arm. He learned to compensate as his arms looks somewhat crooked when he shoots.

Brewer, though, developed a competent mid-range shooting game. His defense has produced fast break play, which has led to his high shooting percentage. He’s also known as a student of the game after playing for Jerry Sloan in Utah.

Brewer is the son of former NBA player Ron Brewer, a 14-year veteran who played briefly with the Bulls in the mid-1980s.

Brewer is 6-7 and 25 years old. He was a regular for the Jazz until they let him go in midseason to the Grizzlies in a salary dump as the Jazz was well into the luxury tax. They went on to use Wesley Matthews, who recently signed with Portland as the Jazz signed Raja Bell, whom the Bulls also talked with.

Brewer suffered a hamstring injury with the Grizzlies and played just five games and was released. But he still remained among the league leaders in steals as he has in his four seasons.

His last full season with the Jazz, 2008-09, was his best NBA season. He averaged 13.7 points in 81 games and was seventh in the NBA in steals. Brewer also averaged 10.2 in the playoffs for the Jazz in 2008 and 2009.

Deron Williams, the Jazz’ All-Star guard, was particularly upset with the Jazz last season over the trade of Brewer and mostly refused to comment, saying, “I have nothing good to say about it.”

It’s a positive sign when a point guard of that talent is so upset with the loss of his running mate, which also suggests Brewer did a good job helping and covering for Williams on defense. Brewer has played some small forward as well given his size, but has had greater success against shooting guards at 6-7 because of his size and that he is such a hard worker and competitor from an NBA family.

Brewer scores most of his points inside, which was probably partly attributable to the Jazz’ offense, and Brewer also finishes strong at the basket and dunks often. He’s a terrific leaper and good with back door cuts and lobs to the rim.

Because of his athletic ability and work ethic, he’s been regarded by some as a potential All-Star after being the No. 14 pick in the 2006 draft. He’s probably not quite at that level because of his lack of a long distance shooting stroke, but for the Bulls needs he seems an ideal fit because of his defensive proficiency and aggressiveness in the open court.

Thus the Bulls end up with three key players from the recent Jazz teams in Boozer, Korver and Brewer, which isn’t bad as the Jazz was a perennial Western Conference contender. More importantly, Brewer fills out and balances the starting lineup with Korver and Taj Gibson now able to settle into solid reserve roles with Omer Asik.

The Bulls likely will try to add another center, perhaps Brad Miller, and also a backup point guard for Rose with summer leaguers like John Lucas III and Matt Bouldin looking good thus far.

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