Monday, May 28, 2012
Bulls player recap: Ronnie Brewer
By Nick Friedell
Over the next few weeks, we'll take a closer look at each player on the Bulls roster and see where they fit in for the future.
Position: Shooting guard. Age: 27. 2011-12 salary: $4,710,000.
Season recap: No player on the Bulls roster had higher highs and lower lows than Brewer. After Rip Hamilton got hurt early in the year, Brewer responded by playing the best basketball of his brief Bulls' tenure. He spent all last summer during the lockout working on his jumper and that extra work paid off as he shot the ball with plenty of confidence in Hamilton's absence. After a while, that confidence wore off and Brewer, who had been playing 35-40 minutes in some contests, suddenly struggled to find 15-20 minutes in some games and was replaced in the starting lineup by Kyle Korver even before Hamilton returned. Brewer's decline came to a breaking point in Game 3 of the playoffs when he was benched for the entire game by Tom Thibodeau.
Season highlight: In 42 minutes of action on Jan. 25 in a loss against the Indiana Pacers, Brewer scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists. In the next three games after that he would combine for 24 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
Season lowlight: It has to be Game 3 in the postseason. Brewer looked understandably frustrated as he sat over on the bench. To his credit, he never complained and continually stated that he was willing to help the team whenever his number was called. He ended up playing well in limited minutes the rest of the season but the benching is something he will certainly think about during the summer.
Notes: Brewer is one of the most well-liked players in the locker room. He has a laid-back style and an ability to get along with seemingly anybody. His biggest issue was that once he started playing starter's minutes in the beginning of the year he couldn't keep up the same level of play throughout the season. Thibodeau got frustrated by the fact that Brewer's shot had gone missing and the veteran guard's game never fully recovered.
Quote: "During the summer, all you have is time," Brewer said after a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in January. "I had a routine where I lifted weights, I tried to stretch. I tried to get my hamstrings strong so I was doing a lot of physical therapy. Then there were times where you had to work on your free throws. I hadn't been shooting the ball that well from there, which I've been trying to improve. Mid-range jump shots and then 3-point [shots]. It was a consistent routine that I tried to maintain at the University of Arkansas. So far it's been paying off for me."
What's next?: Brewer will continue to work on his game in Arkansas as he prepares for next season. The question becomes whether the Bulls will bring him back or not -- Brewer's contract is not fully guaranteed for next season so the Bulls could decide not to bring him back and give his minutes to Jimmy Butler, a younger and cheaper option. Brewer said after his exit interview that Gar Forman and John Paxson told him they would do anything they could to bring him back but his future in Chicago seems cloudy at this point.
FINAL GRADES: Regular Season: C. Postseason: C.