Brewer's Pick Brings Jazz Positive Notes

FAYETTEVILLE -- It may not have been what Utah had planned for initially, but a day after the Jazz selected Arkansas shooting guard Ronnie Brewer with the 14th pick in the NBA Draft, most seemed happy with Utah's pick.

Many expected the Jazz to grab either Senegal's Mouhamed Saer Sene or Duke's J.J. Redick, but by the time Utah's pick rolled around, both were gone -- Sene to Seattle at No. 10 and Redick to Orlando at No. 11.

Utah's fans wanted a guard, although many wanted Redick. When Sene was selected, many in the crowd gathered at Salt Lake City's Delta Center cheered, thinking the door was now opened for Redick.

But despite Redick being gone when Utah's selection came up, Jazz vice president for basketball operations Kevin O'Connor was elated, saying he thought Brewer (6-foot-7, 228 pounds) would be off the board by No. 14.

"I thought you wanted J.J. Redick," O'Connor said to the gathered crowd. "Hey -- We're happy with what we got."

O'Connor apparently isn't the only one.

NBA analysts almost universally credited Utah with a top-flight draft -- which also included Illinois point guard Dee Brown and Louisiana Tech forward Paul Millsap.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford gave the Jazz a grade of A for the draft, noting O'Connor has been criticized for passing on Chris Paul in favor of Deron Williams last year among other gaffes.

"He redeemed himself on Wednesday," Ford wrote. "Ronnie Brewer was a steal at No. 14. He was ranked at No. 8 on our big board and fits a need perfectly for Utah. They need a two guard who can create his own shot and defend multiple positions and Brewer should be great, right away."

In a chat on ESPN.com, the site's Scoop Jackson called Brewer the steal of the draft.

FoxSports.com's Mike Kahn also gave the Jazz an A.

"Brewer gives them a terrific athlete to play on the wing with Andrei Kirilenko and run the break with Deron Williams," Kahn wrote.

MSNBC.com's Ray Glier didn't quite grade Utah and Brewer's pick with the same level of admiration, but still gave the Jazz a B.

"From 1998 to 2000, no team drafted as badly as those guys, but after getting Deron Williams in 2005, the Jazz have got it right two years in a row," Glier wrote.

Many analysts mentioned Brewer's unorthodox shooting style, which came about because of a broken arm he suffered as a youngster.

On the draft broadcast Wednesday night, ESPN's Jay Bilas said Brewer's unusual shooting touch wouldn't hurt him in the NBA.

"He doesn't have a great stroke but it's repeatable," Bilas said. "Ronnie Brewer's a scorer. He's a top-flight athlete. I think he's a very good defender or has the potential to be a good defender. He's very disruptive, he gets steals, but he gambles a lot. I think defensively he's got to get a little bit more disciplined but he will get that over time especially playing in Utah for Jerry Sloan.

"But he's a transition athlete, knows how to score and I think he's got a pretty good understanding of how to play."


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