Corey Brewer: Feel-Good Story of the Summer


Feb 19, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Corey Brewer (13) drives the ball down the court during the second half against the Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 97-90. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

One argument against the Corey Brewer signing goes something like: Brewer 3/15 < Kirilenko 3/21. If you believe the local beats (which I’m not sure I do), coach Rick Adelman didn’t want Andrei Kirilenko back and approved of Flip Saunders’s reluctance to negotiate with AK47 once he opted out of the second year of his 2-year, $20 million deal in the hope of securing a longer one.

Flip, relieved to have some money to throw at the Wolves’ outside shooting woes, threw some cash to lure Kevin Martin and retain Chase Budinger and still had a giant hole where wing defense (kind of) was last year. Which brings me to my point.

There are Wolves fans who believe these two clips embody the best and worst of Corey Brewer.

Derek Fisher deserves every bit of this. It is possibly the best Wolves highlight of the pre-Rubio-post-KG-era.

That clip gets a lot of reductionist responses. Never save the ball under your own basket!!! Typical Corey!!! No player makes my blood boil like Brewer!!!

Whatever — despite the fact Big Al played a (not small) part in that disastrous blooper, Corey Brewer receives all sorts of grief for his style of play. Would it be easier for the peanut gallery to endure if Brewer had his shooting percentage above 45%? It would probably help, but the high-wire act would play on. Corey’s handles are high and loose as Shabazz Muhammad’s and his gambling, freelancing approach to defense would still be there causing ulcers. Then there’s the issue of this shot chart from last season…

Corey Brewer’s saving grace?

I don’t think there’s a lot to brag about, when Flip goes on saying Corey doesn’t suck shooting from everywhere. It doesn’t sway the haters. It’s disingenuous to the fans who don’t know better. It basically makes you look like you don’t respect your audience (to be polite about it).

But look, the assist receptacles on the Wolves roster are plenty enough that this chart will be somewhat irrelevant. The only shots Corey need take with Kevin Love and Martin on the floor are desperation heaves and shots at the rim on the break — there’s simply no need for him to do otherwise. If push came to shove and teams began forcing Brewer to take that corner three, then go ahead and tout the stellar percentages all you want, but I’d imagine Adelman would have other plans.

The preferred amount for Brewer’s services would be in the $3 million vicinity (the Dorrell Wright, Ronnie Brewer, Anthony Morrow bargain bin). This would be a gripe better directed at Saunders penchant for bidding against himself in his desperation to fill spots that were previously occupied by undersized backup point guards and a gifted Russian with a penchant for backdoor cuts, help defense, clever playmaking and a deserved reputation as fragile. I see the choice as AK or Martin, not Brewer.

Sacrificing AK and his all-around, but too-frequently unavailable, wizardry in the name of Kevin Martin’s floor spacing 3-point shooting was a deliberate choice that had to have been made in concert with the coaching staff. Whether that decision gives the Wolves the second ball handler Adelman preferred in his decision to start two point guards and AK over a Ricky-Chase-AK lineup would seem to be revealed by Brewer’s role this season. Is Brewer the starting lineup’s token defensive, hustling specialist? Is he the spark plug coming off the bench? Undoubtedly, some won’t be happy with either.

All I can say is these aren’t the same Wolves Brewer led in minutes played. His role will be so minuscule by comparison — with Martin, Love, Pek on the floor, Brewer will have to run to get his shots. With Love and Pek controlling the boards and Ricky running the show, Brewer’s efficiency and energy bursts should be much more focused and beneficial.