OKLAHOMA CITY -- It didn't take Tom Thibodeau very long to describe what the Oklahoma City Thunder were getting when they acquired Ronnie Brewer. The former Bull, who was recently traded to Oklahoma City by the New York Knicks, is expected to help give them a defensive spark. It's a role Thibodeau thinks the veteran swingman will fill with ease.
"A smart, tough player," Thibodeau said of Brewer. "A great teammate. (He'll) do whatever you ask him to do, can guard multiple positions, can really pass the ball, can feed the post, moves extremely well without the ball and he'll fill any role you ask him to fill."
Brewer is just glad to get a new opportunity somewhere. He had fallen out of the rotation in New York and is excited about the possibilities with the Thunder. He definitely misses being in Chicago, though.
"When I was in Chicago it was a close knit group," Brewer said. "We thought we were so close to winning a championship and our whole team was fairly new. First-year guys together -- other than a few guys who had been there for a few years -- so we became kind of like a brotherhood. I feel like that's kind of what every NBA team is supposed to be like, and if you look at the teams that have success that's kind of how they are. So I keep in touch with those guys a lot and I check on them and they're kind of like family -- they do the same for me."
The Thunder players and coaches are happy to have Brewer's experience in the fold.
"He gives us another body that can play and he's played big games," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "And he's played a lot of playoff games and he has great experience and he's a multiple defender; we like guys that can guard two or three positions, we have a couple of guys that can guard four positions -- he can guard definitely two or three positions. Minutes? I don't know. That's the tough part about coaching -- you have to find minutes for a lot of guys that are deserving, but you can't find them for all."
Brooks praises Bulls: Like many around the league, Brooks isn't surprised by the success Thibodeau and the Bulls have had without Derrick Rose.
"They play hard," Brooks said. "They leave it on the floor every night. Some nights they're not going to score as many points as they would like, but they always stay in the game with their physical toughness. That's what they've done even when Derrick is with the group. That's how they play. He's a physical tough guy also, but they have a way that they play and they play it every night."
Russell Westbrook agreed with his coach's assessment.
"They do a good job, they defend," Westbrook said. "As long as you defend you put yourself in every game, you give yourself an opportunity to win the game. They do a good job of just defending every night."