Corey Brewer focused on bringing championship to Wolves
MINNEAPOLIS — The paradigm has shifted for Corey Brewer.
Long gone are the days when merely stepping on an NBA floor represented the ultimate objective. Extended seasons won’t suffice, either — he’s had three of those since leaving Minnesota via a trade.
Only another title will whet his appetite, honed in 2011 — the teeter-totter year he went from Twin Cities washout to Lone Star champion.
“Everyone’s like ‘you’re going to Minnesota, you’re going to make the playoffs,'” said Brewer, who was formally introduced to Minneapolis media Wednesday after signing as an unrestricted free agent. “For me, it’s not about making the playoffs anymore, because I already won a championship.”
Brewer played a very limited role in Dallas’ 2011 six-game NBA Finals win against Miami. He appeared in six games during that playoff run — none in the finals — and never played more than 8 minutes, 21 seconds.
But just being around Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and company exposed the former No. 7 overall pick to life on the road to a championship.
“You got to be prepared for anything,” Brewer said.
Starting with his tumultuous first stint with the Timberwolves, Brewer has indeed experienced just about everything.
A lack of consistent production during three of a historically poor franchise’s worst years led to a 2011 trade to New York, which promptly cut him and allowed the Mavericks to add to their already deep bench that that season.
After sipping the sweetness of an NBA crown, he spent the past two years in Denver trying to return to that pinnacle. The Nuggets bowed out in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs each season, but that didn’t represent a regression for the 6-foot-9 swingman, who says he weighs 194 at the moment (almost 10 pounds more than he did last year).
As one of the more experienced veterans under coach George Karl, Brewer learned how to lead, he said.
“I try to be more vocal and just show the guys what it’s all about,” said Brewer, who averaged 12.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game last season. “How to win, what not to do and what to do.”
In Minnesota for the second time, he’ll be asked to come off the bench — like he did in Denver — and play a supportive, defensive role.
President of basketball operations Flip Saunders’ busy offseason shored up some key scoring areas but leaves the Timberwolves susceptible on the other end of the floor.
That’s the No. 1 reason they brought in Brewer for a reported three-year, $15 million deal.
“When guys aren’t as strong defensively, you’ve got to play together,” Brewer said, “and I feel like we are all going to play together. We have a good scheme, and we are going to win some games. I’ll put it that way.”
Brewer said he’ll return to Clearwater, Fla., this week and resume workouts with longtime friend Kevin Martin, whom Minnesota also signed this summer.
Then, he’ll see about meeting a goal that at the moment seems insatiable.
“Every season is about winning a championship again,” Brewer said. “I’m not saying we’re going to win one, but in my mind, that’s what it’s all about.”
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