NBA

Timberwolves tout Brewer for most improved award

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)

Defeated 60 times already this season with eight games left to go, the Minnesota Timberwolves have no problem changing the subject.

Corey Brewer is one positive topic to talk about.

The Timberwolves have tied their franchise record with 16 straight losses, a dubious streak they'll try to stop Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. One bright spot in this dismal season, however, has been the performance of Brewer, their skinny, speedy shooting guard.

The team's public relations department revealed Tuesday a light-hearted, medium-roasted push for Brewer to win the NBA's Most Improved Player award.

It comes complete with a Web site and a coffee-themed kit mailed to the 120-plus media members around the league who vote for the award.

The site includes a mock training video for the Caribou Coffee chain, a Timberwolves sponsor, featuring Brewer's supposed improvement in trying to learn how to be a barista. During the short film, Brewer goes from a bumbling messmaker behind the counter to a slick, smiling server in a matter of minutes.

Coach Kurt Rambis even has a cameo, posing as a store manager.

``All he needed was more time on the floor to get his rhythm down,'' Rambis says, commentary that could easily double for postgame analysis of Brewer's actual on-court progress this season.

There's a list of the attributes of ``Brewer's Blend'' on the side of specially made coffee bags: caffeine (noting his defensive energy), complexity (statistical balance), smooth flavor (recent shooting success) and rich finish (dunking ability).

Brewer is averaging 13 points per game, up from a cumulative 5.9 points per game over his first two seasons.

The most glaring difference has been his shooting, with a 42.8 field-goal percentage to boast of after failing to find his stroke over his first 2 1/2 years in the league. Brewer also established a franchise record with 33 straight games with at least one 3-pointer made, a streak that ended earlier this month.

``Once you make a couple, your confidence just carries you,'' Brewer said. ``Once you get your confidence down, you feel like you can make everything.''

The key was figuring out how to keep his head forward during his shooting motion and maintain proper balance.

Health has also been important. Brewer tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee 15 games into last season, his second in the NBA. Now injury-free and in a better frame of mind, Brewer has finally shown he was worth a seventh overall draft pick.

He faces competition for the award from Andrew Bogut of Milwaukee, Aaron Brooks of Houston, Marc Gasol of Memphis and Carl Landry of Sacramento, among others.

But he's got his coach's support, biased as it may be.

``He's very diligent about improving his game,'' Rambis said. ``He wants to be a good player, so he's going to put in the time and the effort.''

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On the Net:

http://www.brewersblend.com

Tagged: Timberwolves, Corey Brewer

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