Late late-breaking news: the Wolves welcomed Corey Brewer back this week. Mark Remme had some words with the man.
A lot will be made of Corey’s 3 point percentage from the corner being 38%. (It’s important to remember it’s just one of the corners.) The shot-happy Brewer of last season (plus) probably won’t be making his way to Target Center as between Kevins Martin and Love — not to mention Nikola Pekovic — the shots will likely be a little less spread out than they were in Denver.
That said, there is a bit of speculation as to whether Rick Adelman will be running Corey out as the starting five’s token non-Ricky Rubio defensive presence or allowing his kamikaze energy be unleashed off the Wolves’ bench. There is Chase Budinger to consider in this equation, as well, but all of this can be saved for later — Brew is back!
“I’m happy for the opportunity to be able to [come back],” Brewer said. “I never really wanted to leave, so I’m happy for the opportunity to be back.”
A lot has changed since then. In Minnesota, Rick Adelman’s leadership coupled with the development of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio began a transformation within the Wolves organization. The team is competitive, brimming with optimism and ready—barring injuries—to take the next step with the complementary pieces they’re placing throughout the roster.
Brewer hasn’t been too far away. After a quick stop in Dallas at the end of the 2011 season where he won a championship with the Mavericks, he’s been in the Northwest Division playing for the Denver Nuggets. He’s become more comfortable with his own game and developed into a guy who not only can play perimeter defense but also get out and run while hitting the occasional shot.
He thrived in Denver because he was able to be a complementary piece in a system that featured Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari, among others. Here in Minnesota, with Love, Rubio and Kevin Martin. He’s looking forward to being able to provide support while also bringing that defensive presence.
And as he returns, he’s bringing with him the growth and maturity he’s gained over the last three years playing with playoff teams in the league.
“I feel like I’m a lot better than three years ago when I left,” Brewer said. “I’ve been in the league going on seven years now. I know what I can do and what I can’t do. I’ve had the opportunity to play and get better.”
Saunders said this week he’s seen Brewer’s game change dramatically since his time in Minnesota, and with Rubio running the point he expects Brewer to be able to get out and run the floor while thriving in Adelman’s system in the half court. While he only shot 30 percent from 3-point range last year, Saunders said Brewer hit 38 percent of his corner 3s—a positive since Adelman’s system should generate the opportunity for corner 3-point opportunities.
For Brewer, getting the chance to come back as well as seeing the direction of the organization made it seem like returning to Minnesota was the right fit.
“It was just looking at the teams, when I looked at Milwaukee, Sacramento, I felt like this team was going in the right direction,” Brewer said. “I feel like I’m going to fit right in.”
Brewer said Saunders and owner Glen Taylor talked with him during the process, but Kevin Martin was also a big factor in signing with the Wolves. He and Martin have worked out together the last 4-5 years in the offseason, and with Martin joining Minnesota he offered his take on why Brewer should join him. “He kind of recruited me like Flip and Glen were recruiting me. He was calling and texting me all the time, saying I could come and play here.”