Ronnie Brewer In, J.R. Smith Out During Knicks’ Road-trip

Though Knicks fans haven’t gotten an opportunity to watch Ronnie Brewer hit the hardwood just yet, perhaps the time is coming.

While Brewer has yet to start scrimmaging with the team, he will still in fact make the Knicks’ upcoming three-game preseason road trip, which begins against the Raptors on Friday. However, not traveling with the team (according to Newsday) are Marcus Camby and J.R. Smith, who has recently been seen in a walking boot as he nurses an ankle injury

Camby has been sidelined over a week with a calf injury, but Smith’s injury is something rather new. While he’s reportedly sat out thus far simply to calm his “soreness” down, it’s unknown how serious the injury is and/or will become.

Assuming Smith’s injury doesn’t keep him out anywhere close to opening night, the focus should certainly be more on Brewer than him. Should Smith be healthy and ready to go by the time the season starts, at least the Knicks don’t have to be concerned with how he’ll mesh with the team. Not only does the swingman have terrific camaraderie with his teammates on and off the court, New York obviously already has a sound understanding of exactly what he can (and can’t) do, and furthermore, how he can help the team.

When it comes to Brewer, however, the earliest he can start building chemistry with his teammates on the court, the better. As a new addition, the defensive-minded guard needs time to adjust to his new basketball surroundings.

Brewer is almost certain to play an incredibly crucial role for the Knicks all season long. With Coach Mike Woodson much preferring Smith fill a sixth man role, it’ll be Brewer who’ll get the call to be New York’s starting shooting guard.

The new Knickerbocker is no stranger to that type of role. In addition to starting most of the games during his tenure with the Jazz from 2006-10, Brewer also started 43 (out of 66) contests for the number one seeded Bulls just last season.

On paper, it appears Brewer will mesh well with the rest of his newest Knicks teammates. With a boatload of offensive firepower already on the team, Brewer’s defensive prowess will surely prove to be valuable as he balances out the squad.

But as Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have proven over the last season and a half, time together is crucial to any potential success. Any time Brewer can salvage on the court before the start of the regular season could ultimately put his team in a much better position to hit the ground running right away without any hesitations.

With Iman Shumpert likely out until the beginning of next year, it’s unknown how long it will take him to get back to 100% once he finally hits the hardwood. Even if he’s playing, it may take time for him to get up to full strengths. As “The Rook” makes his way back, Brewer may not only serve as the starting two-guard until he gets back, but throughout the entire season.

Brewer’s possible contributions certainly show there’s a lot of potential for him to make quite an impact  all season long. The sooner he begins, the better.