On Knicks media day Oct. 1, Carmelo Anthony called Ronnie Brewer "the biggest under-the-radar pickup."
Fifteen games into the season, with the Knicks now at 11-4 Brewer is not only proving Anthony right, but he could arguably be the biggest financial steal of the entire NBA offseason.
Bradley Beal and Ronnie BrewerAP Photo/Henny Ray AbramsDefensive ace Ronnie Brewer puts pressure on Bradley Beal.
On Friday night, in a blowout 108-87 win over the Wizards, the Knicks' starting shooting guard only needed 20 minutes to put his stamp on the game.
Brewer finished with 12 points, three assists, three steals and no turnovers. On the very first Wizards' possession, Brewer's defense on Bradley Beal forced a turnover, and then on the Knicks' trip down the court, Brewer snuck backdoor for the layup.
Better yet, Brewer was 2-for-4 from beyond the arc on Friday night. Remember when former Knicks starting shooting guard Landry Fields used to clank 3-pointer after 3-pointer last season? Now, the team has another consistent threat from downtown.
Brewer never shot better than 27.5 percent from long range in his six-year career. But this season? He's at a whopping 41.2 percent, connecting on one per game.
"When Brewer's knocking down that shot, it makes it easier for everybody else," Anthony said postgame. "Brewer has been shooting the ball extremely well."
Steve Novak called Brewer's shooting a "bonus."
"He's a great defender; you can put him on anybody," Novak said after the game. "He's a slasher, he opens stuff up for guys that you don't even notice. But when he's making shots too, it's like, 'You know, we'll take all that.'"
Brewer told ESPNNewYork.com recently that he has benefited from working with Knicks shooting coach Dave Hopla.
"He allows you to get your rhythm, your confidence back in your shot," he said. "And, to me, basketball's all about confidence and rhythm, and whenever you get your rhythm and get your confidence, the sky's the limit."
During the summer, when Brewer was weighing offers from multiple teams, he recognized the Knicks had the right pieces where he could become a "glue guy," especially feeding off of Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.
"They're going to have a lot of isolations," Brewer said at the time, "and they're going to need to have guys who can move without the basketball, get open and knock down shots, or get to the basket and make plays. So to me, that was the best fit for me."
The Knicks were also smart about not matching Fields' $20 million offer sheet from the Raptors, and instead going after Brewer. That's $5 million per year for Fields, a guy who has tanked in Toronto and has missed the last 12 games with a wrist injury, versus just over $1 million for Brewer, one of the best role players in the league.
Every star player needs a guy like Brewer playing alongside him. Anthony knows it.
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the worst thing about this is... i said he wouldn't matter...how wrong i was..