By Jake Lapin

Since the trade on December 19, Corey Brewer and the Houston Rockets have been a match made in heaven.

The Western Conference has been an arms race all season long, with all eight contenders getting in on the fun. The Rockets, however, may have prevailed over them all. After trading for Brewer, Houston signed Josh Smith less than a week later. Morey turned one of the worst benches in the NBA into a top tier one. When Brewer and the bench brigade check in, they ramp up the aggression on that end of the floor.

Brewer’s agility and gritty mentality make this all possible. He is a lengthy, quick defender, which helps him grab 1.5 steals per game. His speed can make any missed shot a transition dunk. His greyhound style of play can create serious havoc for opposing teams—like his 17-point fourth-quarter outburst in Portland—which is why I regarded him so highly in the Rockets power rankings.

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