With three titles, Brewer brings winning reputation to Denver
He’s the “other” Florida Gator who knows how to win championships.
That would be Corey Brewer.
The new Denver Nuggets forward helped Florida win back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007, and he became an NBA champion just three months after signing as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks on March 3, 2011.
“I take pride in winning,” Brewer said before his first practice with the Nuggets on Thursday. “My best friend was joking with me. He was like, ‘You finally get in the playoffs and you win a championship.’ I told him, ‘I just have to get there.’ ”
In their attempt to build a title-contending team, the Nuggets acquired Brewer and swingman Rudy Fernandez from Dallas this week, sending a future second-round draft pick to the Mavericks.
Nuggets fans will get their first look at Brewer, Fernandez and the rest of the team Friday night when Denver holds its Free Fan Jam open scrimmage at Pepsi Center. No tickets are required, and doors open an hour before the scheduled 6 p.m. tipoff.
“In Portland, (Fernandez) was a fan favorite,” said Nuggets point guard Andre Miller, who played with Fernandez for two seasons with the Trail Blazers. “He definitely brings a lot of energy to the game. He’s a fun guy to be around. He’s kind of like a J.R. Smith in some ways. He’s going to let it go when he’s open.”
Like Brewer, Fernandez is a wing player well-suited to Denver’s uptempo style. He averaged 9.1 points in three seasons with the Trail Blazers and set an NBA rookie record with 159 three-pointers in 2008-09 (the record was broken by Stephen Curry a year later).
“I can shoot, I can play defense, and I’m ready to help my teammates and to help be important for this team,” Fernandez said. “Looking at the roster, it’s a younger team with experience. I think it’s a good team.”
While Fernandez will be asked to provide perimeter scoring off the bench, Brewer’s biggest contributions will likely take place at the other end of the court. He averaged 8.9 points in four seasons with Minnesota and Dallas but is known more as a defender who can cause problems with his long arms.
“I like being known as a knock-down, drag-out defender,” Brewer said. “I don’t mind being known as a defender, but I can do other things.”
Among the things he was asked to do Thursday was talk about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Brewer said he shared a couple classes with Tebow at Florida, but he hasn’t re-connected with the most-talked-about man in the NFL since arriving in Denver.
“He’s got a lot going on right now,” Brewer said. “He’s probably one of the hardest guys in the world to get a hold of, but I’m a Tebow fan. I’ll be watching.”