Ronnie Brewer had a tough decision when NBA free-agency began. His old team the Utah Jazz had an interest in the defensive wing player in addition to the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. Brewer chose to come to the Chicago Bulls.
Two of Brewer’s old Jazz teammates Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver also joined the Bulls recently and significantly improved Chicago’s chances of competing in the East.
In the last two seasons Chicago has lost quality shooting guards and received very little in return. Ben Gordon, John Salmons, and Kirk Hinrich have been shown the door by Chicago in hopes to land LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or Joe Johnson–that didn’t happen.
Ronnie Brewer teamed with Korver and Boozer is not a bad consolation prize. In four seasons in the NBA Brewer averaged 10.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.46 steals. Brewer fills Chicago’s void at the two guard position and is more than willing to guard marquee shooting guards like Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Joe Johnson.
I briefly spoke with Brewer after he was introduced as the newest Chicago Bull.
SS: You had other options in free-agency, why did you choose the Chicago Bulls?
Ronnie Brewer: Tom Thibodeau, I just liked his style of play. He’s a defensive minded coach and defense wins championships. Being able to reunite with my old teammates Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer was another reason. Having a void in the two spot means I can come in to training camp and compete for that spot, that’s another reason. The history of the organization is another reason–it’s a first class organization. I also wanted to play with the pieces on this team. Derrick Rose is an All-Star caliber player; Joakim Noah is an All-Star caliber player, Luol Deng, same thing. It’s a lot of pieces here that will allow this team to be successful. To me it was a great opportunity to come down and join those forces.
SS: It’s been reported that you chose the Bulls because it was an opportunity to start. If things go bad in the middle of the season and a change needs to be made, would you be OK with coming off the bench?
Ronnie Brewer: For sure. I don’t have a big ego. I’m a team player. Whatever I can do to make this team win I’ll do it–if that means starting or coming off the bench, I’m willing to do it.
SS: One knock on your game is your 3-point shooting. Is that something you’re working on improving?
Ronnie Brewer: It’s definitely something I’m working on. Every off-season you have to work on something to try to get better. With that said, to me there’s more facets to the game than three point shooting. There’s offense and defense. There’s different things on offense that you can be successful at; people post up well, people have mid-range, people have past mid-range–a step in from the three point line, people are able to get to the basket, and people do different things on defense. I feel like I’m more versatile with my game, being able to handle the ball and different things like that. The three point shot is something that has been a negative in my game and it’s something I’m working on to get better.
SS: How does your game compliment Derrick Rose’s game?
Ronnie Brewer: I think a lot. He’s going to get so much attention. With the pieces that we’ve added you can’t really double team him. There are guys all over the court who are going to make you pay. I think with me improving my shooting, Luol Deng improving his shooting, Kyle Korver who is a dead-eye three point shooter, Booz[er] is an inside presence and a double-double guy, Joakim Noah is a double-double guy, and Taj Gibson coming off the bench, there are a lot of guys that will be able to compliment him. With me personally, Derrick and his up tempo game, getting an outlet pass and running the floor, or him penetrating and kicking, he has a guy that will run and finish all the time. I could penetrate and kick and get him the ball, there are different ways you can make it work. That helps with my versatility, me penetrating and getting him the ball or him putting it on the floor and me knocking down shots.
SS: You learned the game from your dad Ron Brewer, Coach Stan Heath, and Coach Jerry Sloan; who has been the most influential person in your basketball career?
Ronnie Brewer: Man that’s tough because I cherish every relationship that I have with every single coach. That goes back to pee wee basketball. If you’re a true student of the game you take something from every person, you learn, and take a step forward to try to get better as a basketball player and a person. I learned a lot from Coach Sloan on the court and off the court–same thing with Coach Heath and Coach Hollins in Memphis. I’m looking forward to playing for Coach Thibodeau because there’s one thing I can say that I haven’t learned from any of those guys is how to win a world championship. He’s experienced that and I think that’s what he’s going to try to preach and teach to all of the guys on this team.
SS: For fans who haven’t seen you, Booz, or Kyle play, what are Chicago Bulls fans getting this season?
Ronnie Brewer: We’re all different players. If you want to see a pure 3-point shooter you’re going to see Kyle Korver. He plays hard and he’s going to hustle for you night in and night out. He’s going to try to do everything possible for this team to win. Booz, he’s an All-Star caliber power forward. He’s going to give you a double-double almost every night–if its mid-range or in the post. He’s a guy that can finish at the rim and do anything possible to make this team win. Me, I’m a versatile guy that does a lot of different things. I’m improving on my three point shot but other than that I’m a guy who can handle the ball, get the rebound and take it down the court, distribute the ball, finish at the rim, run the half court offense, be in the pick and roll, penetrate and kick to other players, and post up smaller guards. On defense, I provide a presence on the perimeter with my athleticism and length–I play the passing lanes to get steals. I think we all compliment each other well and add something to this team completely different from each other–but together we can make a difference.
SS: Welcome to Chicago man.
Ronnie Brewer: Thank you.