How often does a season take on such a drastic transformation from influencing one player into jumping off the edge of a cliff to jumping for joy, rocking a new, shiny piece of hardware on his finger? Corey Brewer did it. But, as we all know, it wasn’t easy.
Brewer started off the 2010-2011 NBA season as the veteran of veterans of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Only 24 years old at the time, he was the longest tenured T-Wolf on the squad and was looking to bolster a ton of the load in terms of defense and leadership on the court. Unfortunately for him, his offense never prospered and his awkward on-court demeanor didn’t quite fit the bill of a true con-court leader.
Even as a fan-favorite, Brewer was let go. He had to be. His development as a young NBA talent seized in front of our eyes as he continued to frustrate fans more than wow them. But again, even as a fan- favorite, it was difficult to let go. Whether it was the fact of losing our single perimeter defender with the ability to halt the best of the best from lighting it up, or seeing him go at such a young age where his NBA career was really just starting to look up, or even that goofy, awkward yet smily disposition he always sported that fans actually thought of as “sweet” or “cute,” it was painful to see him leave. It really was.
As Brewer left us to hit the Big Apple via the Melo deal, many thought he would do well there. Under a fast-paced offense where Brewer could utilize his length and athletic abilities, it seemed like he would fit in well while taking the backseat in terms of leadership to Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony. Mostly, many critics believed his defensive prowess, that tough, lay-down-your-life defense he was known for, would be a big score for New York. After all, they really did need some defense to pair with that powerful offense. The only problem was New York themselves didn’t see any use for Brewer and cut him loose quicker then a shark on the end of your fishing line.
After allowing teams to plead for his assistance in his brief time as a free agent, Brewer decided to take his talents to D-town, to join Dirk and co. as they assembled for a full-on assault in this year’s playoffs. They weren’t going to play the “soft” card this year and made it be known when they signed Brewer for extra help. Brewer came in and did exactly what they asked of him: To be a role player, igniting the defense and bringing the game’s pace and energy to a whole new level when he entered. It’s what he’s great at.
Even though Brewer’s stints in the postseason were minimized by Dallas’ immense depth at all positions, he still had his time. And that’s what I’m most thankful for, that he got his well-deserved burn in the postseason for having to suffer three painful, just dreadful, seasons in Minnesota. He went from being on the worst team in the league, having to be that catalyst as a starter and be a leader on the court when that was really never his calling. What he needed he received in Dallas and no amount of experience or playing time in Minnesota will ever make up for it.
With that, I stand here and applaud him in his season-long quest. But he doesn’t need my gratitude. No, he’s got a hefty prize to show for his intense and lengthy season: A championship ring. Ooooh, shiny.