Brewer becomes ‘glue guy’ for Knicks

By: Bob Holt
Published: Tuesday, December 25, 2012
New York Knicks guard and former Razorback Ronnie Brewer drives the lane against the Suns on December 2, 2012.
Photo by The Associated Press
New York Knicks guard and former Razorback Ronnie Brewer drives the lane against the Suns on December 2, 2012.

— Former Arkansas guard Ronnie Brewer said having a chance to win an NBA championship was his main reason for signing with the New York Knicks as a free agent last summer. He signed a one-year deal for the NBA veteran minimum of $1.4 million.

“To me, it wasn’t about a money thing,” Brewer, a sixyear veteran, said in August before leaving his hometown of Fayetteville for New York to start training camp. “I play the game of basketball because it’s fun and I enjoy doing it.

“Having fun is winning, and I feel like New York is the best opportunity for me to win now and go deep in the playoffs.”

The Knicks going deep in the playoffs?

It sounded far-fetched considering they were 36-30 during the NBA’s lockout shortened regular season in 2011-2012, then lost to eventual champion Miami 4-1 in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

But the Knicks are 20-7 going into today’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers and they’re 2-0 against Miami, beating the Heat 104-84 at home in Madison Square Garden and 112-92 on the road.

“We’ve put together a pretty good team,” said Knicks assistant coach Darrell Walker, a former Razorbacks guard who was in Fayetteville earlier this month to go through graduation after completing his degree in human resource management. “We didn’t know we’d take off like this, but weknew we weren’t the same team Miami beat last year in the playoffs.

“We’ve got the right team together. The Garden is a buzzing place right now.”

Brewer, who played withthe Chicago Bulls the previous two seasons, was among several offseason additions for the Knicks along with Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas to join a returning nucleus of Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudamire and J.R. Smith.

Anthony is averaging 28.3 points. He scored 33 points inthe Knicks’ 94-91 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.

“We’ve got a team full of veteran players, and we’ve got a phenomenal star in Carmelo Anthony,” Walker said. “I think he may be the best player in the league right now along with [Miami’s] LeBron James.”

Brewer has started all 26 games this season and is averaging 5.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists.

“Ronnie is in a really good situation for himself,” Walker said. “He doesn’t have to worry about scoring.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys that can score, so Ronnie can be a glue guy. He takes the other team’s best scorer every night, he rebounds, he makes plays.”

Sports, Pages 24 on 12/25/2012