OKC Thunder – Utah Jazz Series: Round Table Part 1

Jerami Grant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jerami Grant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
BOSTON, MA – MARCH 20: Corey Brewer /

Question 4:

Facing a squad of Utah’s defensive ilk offers its own set of concerns. The Jazz finished the season ranked second (101.6) in the Association, but were far and away the best defensive team post All-Star Break (96.0).

Although the OKC Thunder is also a top 10 defensive squad undoubtedly the loss of Andre Roberson had a huge impact and the team suffered in his absence. The addition of Corey Brewer helped specifically in terms of his ability to bring energy and to disrupt the passing lanes. Depending on which report you believe Brewer could miss significant portions of the first round or may return to play game one.

How critical is it for the OKC Thunder to have Brewer on the court and if he can’t go who is the best option for Donovan to use in his stead?

Jeremy Lambert:

They need Corey Brewer in the worst way. We saw how they played when starting Terrance Ferguson, Alex Abrines, or Josh Huestis. It wasn’t pretty on the defensive end. Brewer gave the team exactly what they needed in terms of energy, effort, and basketball IQ. If he can’t play, Abrines is probably the best option, but there are doubts around him with the concussion issue. It’s bad at shooting guard right now.

Sinjin Snope:

Here’s to hoping that Corey Brewer can be on the court for the OKC Thunder this series. He’s not the perfect player, but since Andre Roberson’s injury he has no doubt made the most impact out of all the options OKC has at the shooting guard position. His ability to jump into the passing lanes on defense and run on the fast break could be huge for OKC against Utah. Alex Abrines could be an X-Factor as well, however, as he has experience playing with/against Ricky Rubio on the Spanish national team, and he remains an elite shooter when healthy.

Tamberlyn Richardson:

Full disclosure – I wasn’t keen on the Brewer add, specifically saying he would have a few hot games and then fade. To a certain extent that assessment was true in terms of his shooting. However, owning my guffaw – Brewer did something I didn’t count on – he forced the team to play with pace which is where OKC excel. Utah, arguably more than any other WC opponent will attempt to play in the half court and slow the pace, so Brewer’s presence is required just for that purpose alone.

A name you’ll see a few times here from moi is Patrick Patterson. With Favors and Gobert needing to be handled I like the idea of sliding PG to SG, Melo to SF and PPat at the PF (even if Brewer comes back – I’m dying to see that lineup).

Jordan Buckamneer:

Since Corey Brewer arrived the OKC Thunder have been better. As the team appeared to be gelling together, Andre Roberson went down and the team lost momentum.  After the incident in late January, Billy Donovan desperately moved guys around in the rotation to find a worthy replacement. Alex Abrines found it difficult to get his shot off at times, Josh Huestis was below average and Terrance Ferguson had one flash in the pan against the Lakers.

Starting Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant also seemed off the table because Donovan needed them in the roles they were already playing off the bench. With no answer, Sam Presti signed Brewer. At the time, it seemed like a minor move. However, Brewer came in and surprised bringing the Thunder back to life being a hustle player with a respectable jump shot.

OKC  won six consecutive games immediately after signing Brewer. Brewer may not have the largest impact statistically, but his energy and help on the defensive end visibly lifts the team’s spirits. If he can’t go finding a replacement could be tricky given Abrines may still be out due to the concussion protocol program.

Austin Sternlicht:

By all indications, Brewer will be ready to go for game one. As crazy as it sounds, Brewer saved the Thunder’s season. He provided stability and defensive savvyness the team lacked after Roberson went down. He will be a major factor in this series. In terms of other shooting guards, the Thunder need to hope Alex Abrines can get back after suffering a concussion. He can space the floor and is now gotten to the point where he is passable on defense. I don’t think Terrance Ferguson is ready for this and Huestis has been too inconsistent.

Wil Harrington:

Brewer brings length and hustle, but is not the premier defender that Roberson was. That said, he is still an important part of the rotation and brings added experience. However, even if he were to miss the entire first round, that is certainly no excuse for the Thunder to lose. They are a better team with Corey Brewer, but he is not so impactful of a presence that his absence could cost a first round matchup.

I personally like starting Patrick Patterson at the 4, but it is probably too late for experiments. Look for Josh Huestis on a short leash.

Alex Mcewen:

More from Thunderous Intentions

If Corey Brewer misses extended time it would be a tremendous blow to the Thunder. Brewer is not an all-star nor a star, the reason he starts is that Andre Roberson is injured.

The alternative if Brewer is unable to go is not good. In the first 17 games after Roberson went down OKC’s starting shooting guard scored 51 points, scoring in double digits once. Brewer scored 74 points in his first six starts with OKC.

Brewer’s scoring has since cooled. He has scored in double digits five times since March 20th. If Brewer is unavailable Alex Abrines would be the best option.

Stephen Dolan:

Disclaimer: I completely believe Brewer when he says that he fully expects to play in Game 1.

Having disclaimed that, if he were to miss some time, the Thunder would be in a tough spot. The Jazz run with two point-guards for the majority of the game, Mitchell and Rubio. As tempted as I am to call for Abrines, and as much confidence as Billy Donovan showed in him in the games leading up to his concussion, do you want Alex Abrines chasing either of those guys around pick-and-rolls?

I would expect Huestis to start, but to take only about 15 of Brewer’s 28 minutes average, with the remainder being filled in by a combination of Abrines, Patterson, and Grant.

Next: Round Table Part 2 - x-factors, coaches, advantages, weaknesses and predictions

Noah Schulte:

Brewer is less critical to the team than he’s made out to be. While OKC surely values his active defense and spacing on offense, that skillset is pretty replaceable, particularly if Donovan turns to former Raptor, Patrick Patterson. Now, I realize this is a huge risk. Patterson has failed to live up to expectations this year, and looks borderline washed. However, he’s a veteran with a wealth of playoff experience and could help to fill in the Corey Brewer-sized gap in a series.