Denver Nuggets player reviews: Corey Brewer

High-energy forward emerged as key member of second unit in 2011-12
by Aaron Lopez

With the 2011-12 season in the books and 2012-13 approaching, is taking a closer at the team’s primary rotation players and how they fared during a challenging 66-game schedule. Denver assistant coach John Welch was kind enough to provide candid assessments, which reflect the views of the Nuggets coaching staff as a whole.

Today’s featured player is forward Corey Brewer, who emerged as a key member of Denver’s second unit after being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 13, 2011.

After winning an NBA title with the Mavericks, Brewer found himself playing for his third team in 10 months when he and Rudy Fernandez joined the Nuggets in exchange for a second-round pick.

Brewer played limited minutes in the first few weeks of the season but became a fixture in coach George Karl’s rotation because of his ability to defend, rebound and run the floor.

"I came a long way," he said. "Sitting over there, I thought I could help the team. When I got my chance, I just tried to make the most of it."

One of those opportunities came as the Nuggets dealt with injuries in the middle of the season. Brewer started 14 games from Feb. 11-March 9 and averaged 12.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

In 59 games overall, he averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2. steals. He also scored 18 points in 18 minutes of Denver’s Game 6 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

“Not a bad throw-in (to the Fernandez trade). That’s what I tell everybody,” Brewer said. “Now I’ve just got to get better so I can show everybody I can really play.”

Based on his first year with the Nuggets, Brewer surely will get an opportunity to prove himself again in 2012-13.

John Welch’s 2011-12 Evaluation
“We got Corey because we feel he’s the best running wing in the NBA. He’s one of the best cutters in the league. He gives us energy defensively. We learn from him just watching the way he cuts and move without the ball and runs. It’s great for our guys to see because that’s what we preach. We feel his skill set matches us perfectly.”

Summer Improvements
“With us, it’s the three-ball and attacking the rim. Corey already runs well, so we want that to continue. We also want him to be able to make the corner three with consistency, finish at the rim and get to the free throw line.”

Three Words That Best Describe Brewer
"High basketball IQ.”

Game to Remember
On Jan. 17, Brewer helped the Nuggets open a five-game road trip on an impressive note, scoring 22 points in a 105-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Denver finished 5-0 on the trip, marking its best road swing in franchise history.

Stat That Bears Re-Tweeting
21 – Games in which Brewer had at least two steals. The Nuggets were 14-7 in those contests.