Ronnie Brewer is a Thunder (boom!) and Eric Maynor is a Trail Blazer. We know how our man Zorgon feels about the trade for Brewer, and the general consensus in our WTLC is that the Maynor deal was about as good as Presti was going to get. How do other experts feel about the trades?
Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe conducted a lengthy dialogue over the course of the final trading day. Once things got wrapped up, they had this to say about the Thunder's moves (with my own thoughts interspersed):
Simmons: ...I'm glad Presti finally dealt Maynor ... that means our long national nightmare of Presti trying to pull a Jedi Mind Trick on the media and pretend Maynor was good at basketball and had genuine trade value is finally over. That totally would have worked if writers and other GMs didn't have League Pass and NBA Broadband.
This is kind of the classic Simmons' "snark for snark's sake" kind of point, because he should know better than most that what he's saying isn't true with regards to Maynor's ability. Two seasons ago Maynor was widely recognized as one of the best backup PG in the NBA and a future starter somewhere. His accomplishments stand on their own. It is not fair to judge a guy's performance less than a year after an ACL tear, and Simmons knows this. Whether or not Maynor regains his form is open for debate, but he certainly has a better shot at getting back to where he was due to the way he plays the game in the horizontal plane as compared to a guy like Derrick Rose.
That said, the fact that Presti could not get the 1st round pick he was looking for speaks more to the current CBA landscape than anything else. A year ago? Yeah, that pick might be available. However, with everyone tightening the screws and finally recognizing that draft picks, even low ones, are some of the most sacred assets a team can have, it is perfectly reasonable that other GM's know that giving away a draft pick (and more importantly, a draft pick's contract) is more valuable than dealing it away for a career backup PG.
Lowe: I liked the Thunder snagging Ronnie Brewer from the Knicks for a second-round pick. I'm not sure what happened to Brewer in New York. He started off defending well in killer small lineups, getting baskets on cuts, and even making corner 3s. The 3s weren't going to last, and he did suffer a couple of bumps and bruises, but he could still do that other stuff for a team that could use some healthy, stout wing guys...
The Thunder have never really had a full-time backup small forward for Kevin Durant. Thabo Sefolosha has basically assumed that role in the playoffs, and he wasn't big enough to guard LeBron James in the Finals. DeAndre Liggins and Perry Jones aren't going to be ready in June. Brewer may not impact the Thunder at all, but he's worth a shot as a backup defense-first wing and potential extra ingredient in small lineups with Durant at power forward.
One of the things that we need to remind ourselves of is that it's not like Brewer just came off the scrap heap or anything. He has played in some very good systems. He has played for Jerry Sloan, Tom Thibideau, and as of late Mike Woodson. He understands what it means to play in a culture that has high expectations for its players, so on that front Brewer should be mentally ready for the demands of wearing a Thunder jersey.
One thing that Lowe seems to believe is that Brewer can come in and fully embrace the role that DeAndre Liggins has performed - the gritty substitute defender and hustle play guy.
Lowe argues that OKC has never had a great backup for Durant (actually they did - his name was Jeff Green) but I'd be hard pressed to agree that Brewer is the answer to that dilemma. Ideally, that role would go to Perry Jones III, who has the length and athleticism to be a dynamic scoring option in his own right. However, I think it gets back to the 2nd unit's identity - how are they going to make a name for themselves? Last season, the 2nd unit's identity was on the offensive end. With Harden's scoring and running pick-and-rolls with Nick Collison, they could often make up deficits in time for the starters to return. This year, Kevin Martin has been solid but he doesn't provide that same momentum-inducing freight train that Harden did, so offense really isn't where they can stand out. Defensively though, the unit has promise. They have shown some grit and determination as of late that has given the Thunder a much needed boost on the defensive end, permitting the starters to not lose their advantage while resting.
Lastly, Lowe is correct - adding Brewer is a great acquisition because he has very limited downside but good upside. If he can come in and give good minutes to the Thunder, make some hustle plays and hit the occasional corner-3, he can go a long way toward shoring up the 2nd unit's inconsistencies. However, if he doesn't work out, he simply takes a seat next to Daniel Orton while waiting for Liggins to hit a jumper.
Simmons: And the Zombies certainly could have used Brewer last night against Harden.
Or...and I'm just thinking out loud here...maybe they should not have left Serge Ibaka on an island to try and stop Harden's lethal drives and step-back jumpers. For argument's sake.
Next, we have our good friend Dre at the great site, Wages of Wins, who when he is not singing the virtues of Ty Lawson over Russell Westbrook (while we try to give our best retort), he is lamenting the fact that Corey Brewer is still on his Nuggets team.
How good is Ronnie Brewer exactly?
Here’s a quick recap of Brewer’s career:
- Twice as good as average as a rookie
- As a sophomore three times as good as average
- Twice as good as average in third year
- In fourth year, twice as good as average.
- Twice as good as average in fifth year.
- In sixth year, twice as good as average.
- Average this year