On the final day of the NBA trading period, the New York Knicks traded small forward Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second-round draft pick. In so doing, the Knicks cut ties with a player who had failed to live up to his reputation and was barely giving the team anything of value.
At the time of the signing of Brewer to a one-year deal, I applauded the Knicks for making a wise foray into the free-agent market and identifying a player who was one of the most efficient role players in the league.
Had Brewer actually played up to his capabilities, the signing would indeed have turned out well for the Knicks, but that is not what happened. Instead, Brewer was on pace to have his worst full season as an NBA player.
In his 46 appearances for the Knicks this season, Brewer had only contributed a paltry 0.55 win shares per 48 minutes, which made him a decidedly below-average player. It also was well below his career mark of .129 win shares contributed per 48 minutes. If he had been able to match his career production, it is certain that he would still be in a Knicks uniform.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Brewer's tenure with the Knicks is how poorly he shot, which served to absolutely destroy every last shred of offensive efficiency. For the season, Brewer only posted a true shooting percentage of 43.2 percent, which was on the way to being a career-low for him.
This season marks the second straight one where Brewer's true shooting percentage was not even 50 percent, but last season, one could explain it away by calling it an outlier season that he would bounce back from this year. Now one has to wonder whether Brewer will be able to regain his shooting stroke that helped make him such a valuable offensive player.
No matter how well Brewer plays defense, he will need to regain his offensive form if he is going to be regain his value as a role player.
The Knicks deserve some credit for recouping a modicum of value from a signing that certainly did not involve much return on investment. A second-round draft pick does not provide any guarantee of future value, but at least the potential of securing a valuable player in the second round of the draft is better than keeping a player on the roster who made a team 3.1 points per 100 possessions worse when he is on the court.
Sometimes the best decision a franchise can make is knowing when an experiment has gone wrong, and the Knicks correctly identified that the Ronnie Brewer experiment was simply not yielding the results necessary for a winning formula.