On the day that Sam Presti pulled the trigger, if not pulled one over, on the deal with New York that brought Ronnie Brewer to town, the Thunder general manager immediately pointed out the decorated history of his team's newest perimeter defender.
“More impressive to us is the fact that he's played for some organizations that we really have a lot of respect for,” Presti said.
One by one, players began repeating a similar message.
“He learned how to play defense under Jerry Sloan so he has a pretty good pedigree to him,” said Thunder guard Kevin Martin.
Brewer finally made it to town after the Thunder acquired him Thursday in exchange for what could be the last pick in the 2014 draft. He sat on the bench in a sport coat Sunday against Chicago, one of his former teams, and received a warm welcome from his newest fans when introduced midway through the opening period.
Before the game, Brewer talked a little business, specifically his prized pedigree.
He was drafted by Utah with the 14th overall pick in 2006. He spent 3 1/2 seasons with the Jazz under Sloan before being traded to Memphis. The following offseason, he signed with the Bulls as a free agent and played the next two seasons under coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls coach basically gushed over Brewer when asked what kind of player the Thunder was getting. He used words such as smart, tough and great teammate. He said Brewer can guard multiple positions, pass on the perimeter and feed the post and move well without the ball.
“He'll fill any role you ask him to fill,” Thibodeau said.
The Thunder needs Brewer's defense.
Based solely on first impressions, Brewer interviewed like he was the right man for the job. Asked how he plans to defend LeBron James in a potential NBA Finals rematch, Brewer said the same he approaches every player.
“You've got to treat every player you come across as the premier player in this league,” Brewer said. “So I'm going to approach whoever is in front of me as if they're the best player in this league.”