Wolves’ Missed Connections: Paging Corey Brewer

Dec 20, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Corey Brewer (13) reaches for the ball in front of Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When I was a kid cutting my KDWB teeth, I always heard it as “Raw Bass” and DJ E-Z Rock, but no…

It’s Rob Base, which makes more sense if you’re name is Robert Ginyard. Anyway…

And, also btw, I’ve had this discussion multiple times — it’s “don’t smoke buddha, can’t stand cess” — not sex. Good? Moving on…

After the completely dysfunctional, lackluster bummer that was the Wolves groaner in L.A., there isn’t much to do but reflect on the better times ahead and those already had.

Especially if you’re Corey Brewer.

Corey’s shot 10-39 his last five games, which wouldn’t even be that bad if it didn’t include some ridiculously Brewer-esque forays into nowhere. That sight in your rearview, Brew? Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He’s going to take your minutes before Chase Budinger comes back and cuts into his. (No idea how Chase’s return is going to affect the rotation. I assume A.J. Price and Shabbazzz won’t have to dress for games. Why Bazz isn’t with the D-League is just astonishing. I digress…)

Ugh. I wasn’t going to grind on about the Laker game.

Happy thoughts come from A Wolf Among Wolves’ Steve McPherson’s piece featured on ESPN’s True Hoop Friday. In it he highlights the highlights of Kevin Love’s outlet passes to Brewer and good vibes, good vibes, good vibes

As a pet play, it’s a perfect option for a Timberwolves team that doesn’t rely on athleticism, but on cutting, ball movement, execution and pushing the ball on the break to get open looks. Their own defense is going to produce steals with Ricky Rubio and Brewer, but lacks rim protection. So instead, a successful defensive sequence means they stymie and frustrate the other team with good rotations and communication, in the process forcing a bad shot and opening up rebound opportunities for Love and Nikola Pekovic.

At least, that’s what it looks like when it’s clicking. It’s a state the Timberwolves have at times struggled to maintain, and after a dispiriting loss to Denver on Nov. 27 that dropped them under .500 for the first time all season, Brewer said, “We’ve got to get some kind of swag or energy.”

Hovering around .500 now and coming off an emphatic win over the 22-5 Portland Trail Blazers, it’s clear the team knows what it’s capable of. The question is how to sustain it, how to build a self-propelling swag generator out of the pieces they have.

This is maybe why the connection between Love and Brewer is getting attention now, rather than back when Brewer was with the Wolves during Love’s first three years in the league. (Love’s second-ever assist in the NBA is described on NBA.com’s stats page as an “overhand pass ahead to Corey Brewer for the two-handed slam.”)

The outlet pass is an expression of what the Timberwolves were envisioning when they drafted Rubio in 2009, brought in coach Rick Adelman in 2011 and signed Martin and Brewer this past offseason. It’s a concentrated burst of the type of flash-and-grind team the Timberwolves are working to become, built on opportunism, movement and smoothly interlocking parts.

Although Love is one of the best players in the game, he’s not the kind of dynamic, all-in-one talent that Kevin Durant or LeBron James is. Whatever this Timberwolves team is going to accomplish rests on him, but he can’t do it alone. He needs the support and intuitive understanding of teammates like Brewer, and their often risky, sometimes transformational outlet passes are where it comes together.

Topics: Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love, Los Angeles Lakers, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Minnesota Timberwolves

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