By Nick Guenther
When Corey Brewer returned to the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason, he was expected to take on a backup role behind Chase Budinger. The latter still hasn’t played this season, though, and Brewer is averaging a career-high in points, steals, field goal percentage and made threes. Coach Rick Adelman’s offense seems perfectly suited to Brewer’s speedy style of play, and both he and the Timberwolves are reaping the benefits.
Brewer started all 82 games for the Timberwolves in the 2009-10 season. Since then, he’s been mostly a bench player who could come into games as a lengthy perimeter defender who liked driving to the hoop and shooting the occasional three. Now as a starter again, he’s doing the same things, but at a higher volume. Brewer isn’t a gifted shooter, and he’s shooting under 30 percent from distance this season, but he still shoots mostly threes and at the basket. Despite his relatively poor percentage from three, his true shooting percentage is at an all-time high, due to his high efficiency shot selection.
Perimeter defense was one of the Wolves’ weak points, but the additions of Brewer and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a healthy Ricky Rubio have made a big difference this year. Both Rubio and Brewer are among the league leaders in steals, and the Wolves’ defensive rating is solidly above average despite their terrible rim defense.
Brewer should remain the starter or at least continue playing heavy minutes once Budinger returns. He has made a big impact on both sides of the floor, and his skilled reception of Kevin Love outlet passes has made him a fan favorite. Look for Brewer to continue having a career year as the Wolves try to return to the playoffs.
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