Apr 11, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer (13) celebrates scoring 51 points at the end of the game against Houston Rockets at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves win 112-110. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Off-Season Player Capsule: Corey Brewer

This is the second in a thirteen-part series that will examine all players currently on the Wolves’ roster that played for the team last season. We’ll be omitting Kevin Love, because…well, you know why.

The Timberwolves welcomed Corey Brewer back with open arms prior to the 2013-14 NBA season, offering him a three-year, $14 million contract. This meant a few things: 1) the Wolves got back a former first-round pick who, in typical Wolvesian fashion, has under-performed his original draft position, 2) Minnesota acquired a player that always plays hard and is an easy fan favorite, as well as a popular teammate, and 3) the Wolves reacquired their very own (the original?) wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.

Don’t tell me that Brew doesn’t look like that when he’s playing basketball. He absolutely does.

For all the flailing and smiling and wild three-point shooting, Brewer is a pretty average player. On a really, really good team, he wouldn’t see consistent minutes and would be more of a luxury in small doses off the bench. In other words, essentially how coach Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks used Brewer down the stretch and in the playoffs en route to an NBA Finals victory over the Heat just prior to C-Brew’s stint in Denver.

While Brewer was in Denver, however, coach George Karl allowed, if not encouraged, Brewer’s wild and untamed play.

In the open court, Corey Brewer is a terrifying concept. He’s a whirling dervish; an imminent wreck that one can’t look away from.

Sometimes, it’s good. Sometimes, it’s horrific. Heck, Basketball-Reference.com even lists his nickname as “The Drunken Dribbler”.

Peer through all the missed dunks, leak-outs, defensive fly-bys, steals, and highlight reel dunks, and you’ll find a fairly average professional basketball player.

It’s a little like the good version of J.J. Barea. There is a lot of terrible that makes it tough to see that there is some value to the player. But don’t get overwhelmed or swayed by the flashy dunks and steals (or in Barea’s case, the contorted made shots through contact in the paint). It’s far from roses.

Brewer is not an NBA-caliber starter on a playoff team. He’s an eighth or ninth man, and could be a key part to helping bring along young wings like Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Shabazz Muhammad. He has good work ethic in practice and plays hard in games. There’s a lot to be said for that.

His performance during the 2013-14 season actually ranked among the best seasons of his career. Other than the excessive three-point shooting and non-stop leaking out/gambling that led to easy baskets and possessions for opponents, Brewer has more or less carved a niche in the league and knows his role.

The defensive gambling is one thing. It is what it is, and it largely cancels out his top-ten in the league steal numbers. But the hoisting of three-pointers is nearly as damaging. Check out the clank-fest that was Brewer’s shot chart last year.

Shotchart_1408143911685

It’s not pretty, that’s for sure. At least the corners are hovering around 30%, and just above 31% combined. If he could bump that to just north of 35%, Brewer would be that much more of an effective offensive player.

Add in the fact that Kevin Love‘s outlet passing will no longer be headquartered at Target Center, and most of Brewer’s positive offensive impact will be mitigated. The fast breaks should still be top-notch when led by one Ricky Rubio, but Brewer will need to understand that his role in the half court is slashing and cutting, not spot-up shooting.

All things considered, Brewer is a nice NBA player to have on your squad. He’s fun to watch and easy to cheer for, to be sure. He provides exciting, fast-paced, and highlight-worthy play, too.

But the Wolves overpaid a bit to get him here last off-season, and his impact (or lack thereof) with no Love-tossed outlets will likely be minimal. Here’s hoping that he can improve his outside shooting a bit, while taking the host of young wing players that Flip Saunders has accrued under his own wing and aiding in their respective developments.

Brew, we’re glad to have you back. Just pull the reigns a bit on the gambling. And the drunken dribbling. And the hoisting of wild three-pointers.

Ah, never mind. Brew wouldn’t be Brew without all that…stuff. Everything in moderation, right?

 

 

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