I’ve been a big Ronnie Brewer fan since the Thunder traded for him in February. Been a big proponent of Scotty Brooks using Brewer in the rotation, particularly as a defensive ace. Wondered why Brooks rarely called on Brooks.
Now maybe we know. Brooks has played Brewer almost 56 minutes combined the last two games — 25:04 at Portland, 30:40 against Sacramento. And Brewer put up some of the worst shots in NBA history. Not bad shots as in poor decisions. Bad shots as in poor execution. Brewer was 0-of-2 against Portland; one was a bank shot from about 14 feet that never got above the rim, the other an air ball. Brewer was 1-of-9 against Sacramento and missed by a mile on several.
It was so bad, I give Foreman Scotty a little pass on not playing Brewer. A guy who is that inept at something as fundamental as shooting can create doubt about the whole package. A golfer who is just an atrocious putter will foster no confidence, even elsewhere on the links. A guy who strikes out incessantly (Dave Kingman, Rob Deer, about 50 guys playing today) will mask the stuff he does well on the diamond.
I give Brooks a pass. I won’t criticize him too much for not playing Brewer. But I’d still be playing Brewer. In those two games in which Brewer has got to play starter-level minutes, he’s got 20 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Twenty rebounds! Fourteen defensive rebounds, on a team that of late has had trouble rebounding its opponents’ misses.
So I think Brewer still has value. Maybe we’ll see Brewer in the NBA Finals. Maybe he’ll get to man up with LeBron James five minutes every half, just to give Kevin Durant and Thabo Sefolosha a breather. Maybe he’ll get some time on Caron Butler or Kawhi Leonard in the playoffs. But if not, I can’t get too upset with Brooks. Watching Brewer toss up several no-chance shots the last two games has inspired no confidence.