The Trail Blazers’ 50-year anniversary season is temporarily on pause as the NBA goes on hiatus to slow the spread of COVID-19. During that break, Blazer’s Edge is counting down the top 100 Blazers: players, executives, and other influencers who made the franchise what it is today.
No. 81 | Ron Brewer
Games Played with Blazers: 192 Regular Season, 6 Postseason
*PTS: 13.4 | AST: 2.3 | REB: 2.5 | FG%: 33.2
Playoffs Totals: 18.3 PPG and 48.0% shooting
*Statistics are pulled from a player’s time in Portland
Joined Club: 1978 NBA Draft, selected 7th overall
Departed Club: December 1980, traded to the San Antonio Spurs for Mike Gale and a first-round pick
Place in History: Of all the “dead times” in Portland Trail Blazers franchise history, none are “deader” than the years between 1978-80 after Bill Walton went down but before Jim Paxson became a thing. Grief and shock over Walton’s injury and departure overwhelmed Portland’s seasons and playoffs appearances for a couple years. It’s a shame. Were we paying attention then, and better able to remember now, we might recall shooting guard Ron Brewer. He wasn’t tall—only 6’4—but he could elevate like he was taking tourists up the Eiffel Tower. A few dribbles towards the bucket...it looked like the defense had him shut down, then...WHOOP! You didn’t think you had to cover that much vertical space, did you? All of a sudden Brewer’s head and arms would emerge from traffic, his wrist would flick, and two more points were on the board.
We’re used to the most athletic guards in the NBA being high-volume, low-efficiency scorers. Brewer shot almost 50% as an undersized guard his rookie season. Those shots were not all dunks, either. But his regular-season antics paled beside his playoffs performances. Without Walton, the Blazers were dead in the water against the Phoenix Suns in 1979 and the Seattle Supersonics in 1980. In the ‘79 series, Brewer averaged 17.7 points per game, outscoring every teammate save Mychal Thompson—including Maurice Lucas and Lionel Hollins—while shooting 56% from the floor. In ‘80 he averaged 19.0 points per game, topping everyone except Billy Ray Bates. He scored over 20 points in four of those six post-season outings, yet nobody remembers his name.
The advent of Bates and Paxson would make Brewer expendable for the Blazers. He would go on to play through 1986, averaging 18.8 points on 47.7% shooting during the 1981-82 season, but many of his best performances came early, in a Trail Blazers uniform.
You can see Brewer and his teammates in this video of the Blazers facing the Sonics in Game 2 of their first-round series in the 1980 NBA Playoffs. Note the commentator saying, “Ron Brewer with that jumper.” It was his signature, and they knew it well.
Speaking of jumpers, Ron is responsible for a unique milestone in Blazers history: After the league added it in 1979, Brewer made Portland’s first three-pointer in the second game of the season, a win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Discuss your thoughts and memories of Ron Brewer below, and check back every day as we continue the countdown to No. 1.