2010-11 Scouting Report: Ronnie Brewer


Name: Ronnie Brewer
Position: SG
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 227 pounds
Birth Date: March 20, 1985 (25 years old)
Birth Place: Portland, Oregon
Number: 11
Nicknames: Brewdog
College: Arkansas
Drafted: 2006, selected 14th overall by the Jazz
Experience: 4 seasons
Previous teams: Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies
Expect: Solid effort on defense
Don’t expect: Shooting

2010-11 Oveview:
Brewer had a rough 2009-10 season. He was traded from Utah to Memphis, where he (poorly) played only five games due to a hamstring injury. Statistically, it was the worst season of his young career. Injuries will do that to a person. Barring injury, Brewer hopes to get back to form with the Bulls this season.

But that raises the question: What is “back to form” for Ronnie?

When the Bulls signed Brewer this summer, some joker posted the following one-line response on the IGN Boards: “Ronnie Brewer Offensive Scouting Report: Dunks.”


Unfortunately, this is one of those “sometimes the truth hurts” moments. Brewer’s offense is limited. I mean, extremely limited. This is due mostly to the fact that the man cannot shoot the rock…which is a problem for somebody who plays shooting guard.

Although Brewer’s career shooting percentage (.521) is outstanding — especially the .558 mark he set during the 2007-08 season — that stat was established almost entirely in the around-the-basket area. He is a career 23 percent three-point shooter who has converted only 41 treys in 271 games over four seasons. And remember: All but five of those games were with the Jazz, where the greatest majority of his shots were of the wide open variety.

Last season — discounting his five-game stint with the Grizzlies — Brewer hit 65 percent of his shots at the rim but was a brick layer from every other zone. Inside 10 feet: 27 percent. 10-15 feet: 30 percent. 16-23 feet: 35 percent. From downtown: 25 percent.

While perusing his career stats at Hoopdata, the only glimmer of hope I saw was that Brewer connected on 47 percent of his shots from 16-23 feet during the 2007-08 season. However, that seems to be an outlier. His other shooting percentages are terrible from every zone (except around the rim) for every other season.

In other words, there’s no reason to suspect he’ll suddenly develop some heretofore unknown shooting ability. And I haven’t read anything this summer to suggest he’s been working tirelessly on his outside shot. So there you have it.

Moreover, Brewer’s shots are not his own unique creation. According to 82games.com, Brewer’s field goal attempts are assisted 70+ percent of the time from every zone. This is another potential problem. Traditionaly, shooting guards are usually expected to generate their own looks. That’s not going to happen with Ronnie.

That’s not to say Brewer is a complete waste on offense. After all, he has averaged 10.3 PPG over his four seasons (including almost 14 PPG in 2008-09). Brewer has scored these points by working hard and making wise decisions within a smart offense. As ESPN’s John Hollinger put it: “Talk to scouts, analysts and other assorted film junkies, and they’ll tell you Brewer is the best off-ball cutter in the league. He’ll get lost on the weak side in Utah’s motion offense and then make a quick zip to the basket for an easy layup or dunk. He scores nearly all his points this way, rarely needing to attack 1-on-1 for a basket. He’s also a good finisher in transition.”

So in a sense, Brewer is sort of the anti-Korver. Whereas Kyle is almost strictly an outside shooter, Ronnie can’t do much outside of the zero-to-five feet range. Man, I wonder if there’s any way to merge those two guys into one complete player? Yeah, probably not.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is talking up running and getting easy buckets — of course, what NBA coach doesn’t? — and that would play to Brewer’s strengths. And TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz suggested the Bulls adopt a flex offense, which would also make the best possible use of Brewer’s limited offensive capabilities. However, there’s no way to know what the team’s offense is going to be like until we actually see it in action. So Brewer’s actual offensive utility is hard to predict.

In theory, what Brewer lack on offense he makes up on defense. Unfortunately, that theory hasn’t totally held up to this point in Ronnie’s career. Hollinger continues: “Utah employed Brewer as its main defensive ace, but he wasn’t particularly good at the job. Though he has great anticipation for steals off the ball and appears to have the requisite physical skills, he’s proven quite beatable 1-on-1.”

And indeed, Brewer’s career Defensive Rating of 107 — that is, 107 points surrendered per 100 possessions — isn’t exactly the stuff of defensive legend. And his defense didn’t seem to improve when his playing time increased. During the 2008-09 season, when Brewer set career highs games played (81), minutes played (2605), and minutes per game (32.2), his D-Rating was a career-worst 108.

However, as Hollinger pointed out, Brewer has displayed a talent for pilfering the ball. He was in the top 10 in total steals twice (10th in 2007-08 and 6th in 2008-00), once in steals per game (7th in 2008-09), and twice in steal percentage (2nd in 2007-08 and 7th in 2008-09). So, if nothing else, Ronnie has quick hands and good anticipation.

And isn’t it reasonable to suspect a defensive guru like Thibodeau can put those skills to good use? Brewer certainly has the physical capacity to be a stopper. Maybe Thibs can help him reach his supposed potential…or even surpass it.

Let me be frank: When trying to figure out how good the Bulls can actually be this season, Brewer is my biggest concern. Unless management throws in a monkey wrench (like trading for Rudy Fernandez), Ronnie is going to be the team’s starting two guard…and he’ll probably get the majority of the minutes at that position too. (Although Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald reports that the starting two guard spot is up for grabs, it’s very hard for me to imagine a defensive traffic cone like Korver or an ultra-limited guy like Keith Bogans getting the nod over Brewer.)

Last season, the Bulls’ offense was often disrupted because of a lack of shooting on the floor. When you look at the predicted starting lineup — Rose, Brewer, Deng, Boozer, Noah — you don’t see much shooting. Sure, Luol was the team’s best three-point shooter (by percentage) last season, and Derrick has been working on his three-ball all summer. But still: the starting five doesn’t have any proven, high-percentage long-distance shooters.

That could be a problem.

There’s a very good chance that Thibodeau’s crafty defensive schemes can transform Brewer into the defensive stalwart he’s supposed to be. But his limitations on offense will hinder his development as a player, and they could also hinder the Bulls as a team.

More Kyle:
NBA.com profile
ESPN.com profile
Basketball-Reference.com Profile
82games.com Player Stats
Wikipedia entry

Bonus video:

24 Responses to 2010-11 Scouting Report: Ronnie Brewer

  1. rhettss@gmail.com'
    icicle September 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    wow, Brewer is amazing at catching passes.

    On offense, Brewer is essentially completely ignorable if he is standing still further than 5 feet from the hoop. Defenses realize this, so they ignore him for a moment, and that’s when Brewer makes his cut.

    If spaced well, this could work well with Noah, Boozer, and Deng.

  2. TexasBearsFan September 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    No shooting? Really? Except that you just got done telling us what an improved shooter Noah’s been, so defenses will at least have to sort of respect it. And what a decent shooter Boozer is for a big man. And that Deng was our best 3 point shooter last year. And that Rose has been working on his 3 ball and shooting all summer.

  3. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. September 30, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Who cares about wins, playoffs, or championships? The Bulls will have the most authoritative dunking backcourt in the league!

  4. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale September 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    “2.No shooting? Really? Except that you just got done telling us what an improved shooter Noah’s been, so defenses will at least have to sort of respect it. And what a decent shooter Boozer is for a big man. And that Deng was our best 3 point shooter last year. And that Rose has been working on his 3 ball and shooting all summer.”

    I followed my supposition with this clarifying statement:

    “…the starting five doesn’t have any proven, high-percentage long-distance shooters.”

    I’m talking about the three-ball. Rose has been working on it, and he’s talking it up, but we haven’t actually seen it in action yet. Deng was the team’s best percentage three-point shooter, but he rarely takes threes. Noah and Boozer won’t be chucking them from that range (one fervantely hopes).

    In today’s NBA, reliable long-range threats are essential to a smoothly running offense. As far as we can tell right now, the Bulls don’t have a consistent, high-percentage three-point shooter in their starting lineup…assuming Brewer starts.

    Hope that clears my point up.

  5. gvp7@hotmail.com'
    gerry September 30, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    I’m excited.

    The guys that look to become the starting 5 (Noah, Booze, Deng, Brew, and Rose) while probably not gonna be a good shooting 5…will more than likely be a great finishing 5. All 5 guys are actually pretty good at finishing around the rim, and that’s exciting to watch–especially if coach Thibs can turn this squad into a ball-hawking fastbreak-happy defense.

  6. JCrawKnicks11@gmail.com'
    PJ September 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    Little known fact: Ronnie’s cousin is a relatively successful (though underground and independent) rapper from Detroit named Guilty Simpson.

    See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1g2QwWqAVs

  7. zilla2033@yahoo.com'
    zillaa September 30, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    I’ll take someone with limited offense that won’t take shots he can’t make. It sounds a lot better than Tyrus Thomas trying as hard as he can to get his 18-footer percentage back above %30. As far as the starting line-up goes, if Korver is in it, then that just means his man can’t leave him and we play 4-on-4 with Rose, Deng, Boozer and Noah on offense, while we play 4.5-on-5 when we’re on defense. I’ll take that too.

    Welcome to the Bulls Mr. Brewer. We’re happy to have you here to do what you’re good at.

  8. Matt Steigenga September 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    LOL at this reporter once again wanting a trade for Rudy Fernandez. Get over this “We don;t want T-MAC, Carmelo, or anyone else capable of taking over games” mentality over the “Rudy Fernandez is the main key to winning it all” bullcrap.

    Also the sounds of this article concern me. Sounds like Brewer is not a very good one-on-one defender and isn’t much offensively. So why are we suppose to be favorited to be a main Title contendor again?????? And I am a huge Bulls fan but really it almost seems like any hope at a Title went out the door once D-Wade and/or Lebron passed on us. I sure hope we get a cinderella season for us then.

  9. abormet@hotmail.com'
    Aaron September 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    He reminds me of a young Ron Harper. Good hops, athletic, lack of an outside shot and decent (not great) defense.

  10. Anonymous September 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Thanks for the post Mchale…prior to this I knew that Ronnie was offensively handicapped, but not to this degree.

    I read an interesting article on bleacher report yesterday. A trade involving Bulls getting Wilson Chandler…again this is obviously hypothetical


  11. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    Dj September 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    I agree,

    hopefully by the trading deadline we manage to get Rudy Fernandez in exchange for James Johnson and our 1st around draft pick from the Bobcats. If not, hopefully James Johnson could become a scoring machine lol

  12. 2189alex@comcast.net'
    Alex R October 1, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    I’m really excited to see Rose and Brewer run the fastbreak this year!

  13. praefect@hotmail.com'
    Zep October 1, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    Hmmm…Brewer’s on-ball defense on Kobe has always been pretty good, it seems to me. I’m surprised at the numbers you quote. I wonder if it has anything to do with how little interior defense Utah had to back up its perimeter D. Their only shotblocker was Kirilenko, and the whole team just fouled a lot when penetration started. Nobody in the league, especially with the current set of rules, can stop skilled perimeter players from driving, but they can make their drives ineffective IF they have some help. If Brewer was always funneling people into a foul and FT situation, that would explain a lot of the defensive efficiency numbers. I would love to see a comparison of, say, AK-47’s numbers with Brewer’s.

  14. Matt Steigenga October 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    Rudy Fernandez is the key to a Bulls 7th Title LOL.

  15. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob October 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    3 more days and the action starts. I’m ready.

  16. DipenPatel@Chicagobreakingsports.com'
    BULL4EVER October 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    There is zero need for someone like Rudy Fernandez to be a key to Chicago’s 7th NBA title,whether Rudy Fernandez totally helps or not at all because Rose,Noah,and Boozer are the master keys to the Bulls’ 7th NBA title. GO BULLS BABY!!!!!

  17. dan October 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    This is making me sick… Here we have team on the verge of becoming a real contender….Then they screwx up the draft by trading their pick, trading away hinrich, to clear room for LBJ and some one else….. We only get one FA(Boozer), still have Deng,and prob. not getting Melo… I love the Bulls but I think they are lacking one great player…i’d say if Bulls dont break 500 john paxson should go…i dont care what anyone thinks..

  18. Alex D October 3, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    I strongly agree with Zep

  19. Matt Steigenga October 3, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    I agree BULLS4EVER. My comment about Rudy being the key to another title was sarcasm because of some of the goofball comments I am hearing here about how the Bulls don;t need a Carmelo but they must gve everything to get some average bench player in Rudy Fernandez. LOL. Oh by the way I think we are fine without Carmelo but if it was a steal of a deal I would take him in a heartbeat.

  20. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    Dj October 3, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    @ BULL4EVER,

    I agree with you but, for some reason I keep feeling that we are 1 piece away from becoming a Championship team in order to beat the Lakers in the playoffs.

    Notice that I did not mention: Boston, Miami or Orlando because their team does not scare me at all from us beating them in the playoffs with the team we have right now.

    I feel that if we can manage to get a good offensive SG, we can beat the Lakers! Especially, if he is a dangers 3 point shooter like Rudy Fernandez, by adding Rudy to our team we will have multiple options to scare the Lakers from the 3 point line with Korver, Deng, Watson, Rose, Bogans and Rudy. Not only that but, it will open up the inside game for Boozer, Noah, Gibson and Thomas for quick easy baskets.

  21. felipeagarcia87@hotmail.com'
    Dj October 3, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    As for our defense side, I feel strong about us making stops when we need to with Thibodeau smart plays.

  22. Matt Steigenga October 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Let me say this slow for DJ to understand. Rudy Fernandez would not help our team go to that next level at all. He may be good enough for 1-2 more wins but he is horrible on Defense so he may even costs us more games.

    FYI Boozer is out for NOV. Great, thats the toughest part of the season with the cricus trip and he is out. Wait til next yr looks like.

  23. TexasBearsFan October 3, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    Well, there goes the neighborhood. Boozer’s gone til damn near Xmas with a busted hand.

  24. antoniocampbell@jfychicago.com'
    AC October 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    this bum injured too man

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