Chicago Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer, saves the ball from going out of bounds during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards Monday, April 16, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Ronnie Brewer wasn’t pretending to be some sort of savior. Far from it.
The well-traveled guard/forward had been unemployed for the last month or so and, oh, by the way, just happens to have a certain skill set that can bring a smile even to the usually stoic face of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Defense, especially perimeter defense? Sign the man.
That’s what the Bulls did before practice Monday at the Berto Center, announcing that Brewer, 29, would rejoin the team. He had left as a free agent following the 2011-12 season after playing two seasons with the Bulls.
“I feel like I started off real-
ly well when I was in New York [last year],’’ Brewer said of his road since leaving the Bulls. “Our team was doing really well. [Iman Shumpert] came back from injury, Amar’e [Stoudemire] came back [and I] kind of fell off the rotation and then got traded. Oklahoma City had their rotation, so I couldn’t argue with that; they were the
No. 1 team in the West.
“I signed with Houston [at the start of this season]. Playing behind James Harden and Chandler Parsons, I didn’t get a lot of time, so I’ve been searching for a place where I can come in and help a team out. I feel like I can help this team out.’’
In other words, the Bulls will welcome another player turned away by the rest of the NBA, one looking to resurrect his career (see D.J. Augustin and Nate Robinson).
“We’re excited to have him back,’’ Thibodeau said. “He did a great job for us the last time we had him. He’s a good pro. He stays ready. He’s a good fit in terms of character and experience.’’
What Brewer also does really well is guard the perimeter. With the Bulls lining up to possibly face the three-guard attack of the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, Thibodeau won’t have to force-feed rookie Tony Snell into a role he hasn’t fully grasped.
That perimeter defense really will come in handy in Round 2, likely against the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers.
Thibodeau wouldn’t say how quickly Brewer will be used, especially because the veteran has been on a couch for the last month or so. But with five regular-season games left and Thibodeau basically using a seven-player rotation for the last month, there’s a reason Brewer is planning to work out twice a day for the next week.
“Well, Tom knows what kinds of players he likes,’’ Brewer said. “A player that is going to give 110 percent, hustle every play and try to do the little things to win. I never needed the ball a lot on offense, and I try to play as hard as I can on defense. I felt like if I do that, I can help this team out.’’
Brewer’s best season under Thibodeau came in the shortened 2011-12 campaign, when he started 43 of the 66 games, averaging 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. More important, during that season, Brewer took then-rookie Jimmy Butler under his wing, preparing him for the daily grind of the NBA.
That’s why it was no coincidence that Brewer was working out with Snell on Monday long after practice ended.
“It’s weird to call myself a vet, but when you’ve been around this league for a while, you know kind of what it takes to stick around,’’ Brewer said. “I tried to help Jimmy out, but I think Jimmy helped me out, too.
“Tony’s here and he works really hard, and he’s willing to get better.’’