Martin Sees Brewer As "Perfect" Fit On The Wing
Martin Sees Brewer As "Perfect" Fit On The Wing
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Kevin Martin has followed Corey Brewer’s career enough since he was drafted in 2007 to know what he can provide on the court. The two have shared six years in the NBA, and off the court they both work with the same trainer, David Thorpe, in Tampa, Fla. The two have become friends during that time, and they certainly have gotten to know one another’s abilities.
So when the opportunity arose for the Wolves to make a run at Brewer, a free agent this summer, Martin said he was willing to do anything necessary to give Minnesota a shot.
Why? Martin said Brewer is the perfect complement to play beside him on the wing. Where Martin is a sharp-shooter the Wolves hope will not only hit from deep but also slash within Rick Adelman’s system and get to the foul line, Brewer is a 6-foot-9, defensive-minded player who can hit the corner 3 and run the floor in transition.
Martin said when he heard about Brewer’s situation, he spoke with the Wolves about him and then contacted Brewer directly.
“He’s come a long way since Day 1,” Martin said. “I remember when he first got drafted to Minnesota, and you can tell over the years he’s matured. Ever since this summer, since free agency began, he’s told our trainer, ‘I’m committed to doing anything you want me to do to turn me into a better player.’ He understands what this league is about, and when we had a chance to get him I was willing to do to make that happen.”
The Wolves officially announced the two offseason acquisitions—Martin via a three-team sign and trade with the Thunder and Bucks that also sent Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee, and Brewer via free agency—in mid-July while also announcing they had re-signed Chase Budinger. Last week, Minnesota also announced signing veteran center Ronny Turiaf.
With the three veterans coming together and Minnesota balancing its roster across the board, Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said the team has accomplished many of the goals it set out to do this offseason. Locking in center Nikola Pekovic is the last major piece of the puzzle, but adding Martin’s offensive punch, Brewer’s defensive approach and Turiaf’s winning experience the Wolves have put together a group of talented offseason acquisitions to piece around cornerstones Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
“You feel better because you kind of had an idea of what you needed to do. You had people that knew what we wanted to do, and we pretty much filled our targets,” Saunders said. “So you feel good about that. Now the work just begins.”
Brewer said last week that he never wanted to leave Minnesota the first time when the Wolves dealt him to New York as part of the Nuggets to Knicks Carmelo Anthony deal, so asking him to return wasn’t a hard sell. He’d been in the Northwest Division the past two years with the Nuggets, so he’d seen the upward progression of the Wolves and where the team seems to be headed in the coming years.
But having Martin on board and making a push certainly helped.
“He kind of recruited me like Flip and Glen [Taylor] were recruiting me,” Brewer said. “He was calling and texting me all the time saying I could come and play here.”
Brewer really is an important piece of this puzzle, because the Wolves desperately needed a player who can step in with a defensive mindset that can try to replace the intangibles left void by Kirilenko’s departure. Kirilenko did so many things on the court for the Wolves, and Brewer won’t be tasked with trying to fill that role in full. But with Martin and Budinger primarily offensive weapons on the wing, Brewer will be essential toward helping lock down opponents’ top perimeter players.
Martin said the key will be all five players on the floor buying in defensively, but having someone with length and lateral quickness will be crucial. The NBA has elite athletes on the wing on a nightly basis, and being able to contain them is the key to success.
“[Brewer’s] going to be a guy that’s going to be playing in a role he’s comfortable with, and he’s played that role extremely well winning a championship with Dallas and extremely well this past year with Denver when they won 57 or 58 games,” Saunders said.
The defense, along with hitting an occasional corner 3, are a pair of traits alongside Martin the Wolves hope to benefit from out of Brewer this year.
“Corey’s the right guy because not only can he defend but get out and run with Ricky, which is what we thought was important,” Saunders said. “To really get out and run the break and even though he only shot 30 percent from 3 last year, he was a very good 3-point shooter out of the corners. We thought that was going to be a positive because in Rick’s system there are a lot of corner 3-point opportunities.”