Through three games, everyone wearing a New York Knicks’ jersey has contributed in one way or another. But once you get past the numbers of Carmelo Anthony and the impact the three-headed monster at point guard have made early on, maybe no Knicks player has made the early impact that newcomer Ronnie Brewer has had.
I liked the Brewer signing a lot when it happened, but after the start to the season, I am thrilled about it.
His numbers won’t jump off the page, but they aren’t bad. In 26.7 minutes per game, Brewer has chipped in 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 55.6 percent from behind the arc. But Brewer’s biggest impact offensively could be the fact that he has turned the ball over only once in over 78 minutes of action. Throughout his career, Brewer has never been known as a great shooter, so you have to be thrilled with those numbers.
But Brewer’s offensive numbers are all a bonus.
He was brought here to be a lockdown perimeter defender and although it has been only three games, Brewer has exceeded expectations.
He helped hold LeBron James to 23 points and five turnovers, and made Evan Turner basically a non-factor in back-to-back games with 22 total points. He will continue to draw the primary assignment on the opposition’s best wing player, which is good news for Mike Woodson considering Brewer can check both 2′s and 3′s.
The most impressive part about Brewer’s game is his outstanding footwork.
Very rarely will anyone have success getting by the 6’7″ Brewer as he has very quick feet and use that to his advantage defensively. In addition Brewer is a smart player who is rarely caught out of position.
After missing most of training camp with a knee injury, Brewer has fit in just fine with his new teammates.
His outstanding defense fits in well with the likes of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, who can now be a little more aggressive with a guy like Brewer defending on the perimeter.
“When I have a guy that can roam and guy that can shut down his guy,” Chandler recently told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. ”I know most likely he’s not going to be beat as much, and I can concentrate my focus around the rest of the floor. He’s big and strong, and can keep guys out of the paint.”
The impact Brewer makes to this Knicks team makes him one of the more under the radar signings around the league that has the chance to pay off in a big way.
One person who has to be thrilled with Brewer’s contributions is head coach Mike Woodson as Brewer is the type of player who fits into Woodson’s system perfectly.
In addition, Brewer gives Woodson options due to the fact that he can defend multiple positions.
He has helped ease the loss of Iman Shumpert, who will be out until at least January and if Brewer can continue to perform well, Shumpert may not be just handed his job back.
But he allows Woodson to be flexible as he can go small with Shumpert or J.R. Smith at the 2, Brewer at the 3 and Carmelo Anthony at the 4. Or Woodson can go big when Amar’e Stoudemire returns by moving Anthony back to the 3 and playing Brewer at the 2.
Late in games, the Knicks defense on the perimeter should be outstanding with both Brewer and Shumpert on the floor.
The Knicks wanted to get better defensively and they have. A big reason for that is Woodson, but a lot of credit goes to a guy like Brewer as well, who has been very impressive thus far.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.