The Oklahoma City Thunder weren’t expected to do much yesterday when the trade deadline hit at 3 p.m. EST. The Thunder made two moves though at the list minute.
The first one sent point guard Eric Maynor packing to the Portland Trail Blazers for a trade exception. Then the Thunder acquired New York Knicks guard Ronnie Brewer for a 2014 second-round pick.
The moves don’t seem like much but by essentially swapping Maynor for Brewer, the Thunder are in better shape to take on the team that’s proven to be nearly impossible for them to beat: the Miami Heat.
Maynor had fallen out of the rotation and lost his value to this team. He was going to be a restricted free agent in the summer and the Thunder weren’t planning on matching an offer sheet for him, especially considering the emergence of Reggie Jackson.
So it made sense for Maynor to be shipped out. The Thunder reportedly wanted a first-round pick for him but settled for the trade exception and opening up a roster spot for Brewer.
Brewer is known as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. When he played for the Chicago Bulls from 2010-2012 he would often defend LeBron James.
While no one can shut down LeBron, Brewer has the tools to slow him down. At 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, Brewer can match him with LeBron size-wise.
Before acquiring Brewer, the Thunder really only had Kevin Durant and Thabo Sefolosha to guard LeBron. Durant got in foul trouble far too frequently when attempting to check the King and Sefolosha just seemed a little too small to handle him in the post. Brewer gives the Thunder a much needed extra option to defend LeBron.
Brewer’s impact elsewhere won’t be as great. We might see Sefolosha playing a few less minutes the rest of the season and DeAndre Liggins might start spending more time in Tulsa.
Brewer is not much of a scorer. The most he ever averaged in a season was 13.7 points per game back in 2008-09. He’s only a career 25.7 percent three-point shooter too. He’s an effective slasher though that still manages to shoot 49.3 percent for his career, although that number has been lower in recent seasons.
The Thunder pride themselves on defense and their internal goal is to gain a reputation as one of the league’s elite defenses. That’s why we didn’t see Kendrick Perkins packing his bags yesterday for Marcin Gortat. Perkins brings the defense every night and so will Brewer.
The Thunder got better yesterday. You won’t see it right away but when the playoffs start, OKC has another body that they can go to war with.