The Denver Nuggets’ Corey Brewer knows what winning feels like.
The swingman won two national titles while at Florida in 2006 and 2007. He was also named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament in 2007.
Now, Brewer is bring that winning attitude to the Nuggets–especially to the bench, which was become one of the best in the NBA.
Brewer has taken some time to develop. He was drafted No. 7 by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007 NBA Draft. He averaged 5.8 points a game. His best season in Minnesota was 2009-10 season when played more than 30 minutes a game and averaged 13 points a game.
After playing in Dallas in 2011, where he was part of the NBA champion Mavericks, he was traded to Denver before the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12. Brewer contributed 8.9 points a game during his first season in Denver.
Not until this season did Brewer prove how valuable he can be.
Brewer, who scored 14 points in a win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, April 3 in Salt Lake City, averages 11.8 points a game. Despite shooting less than 30 percent from beyond the arc the season, Brewer has become one of the more reliable shooters for the Nuggets. He spots up in the corners waiting for passes from the driving Ty Lawson, Andre Miller or Andre Iguodala.
The Nuggets have the third-best bench scoring in the NBA. Denver averages 40.9 points off their bench, which includes Brewer, Miller, JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler. In a Friday, March 29, win over the Brooklyn Nets, the bench outscored the Nuggets’ starters. The starters didn’t have potential superstar Lawson, but it was still an accomplishment for the bench.
Brewer creates matchup problems for team’s on offense and defense. His is long at almost 6-foot-9 and quick off the dribble. On defense, he can guard four of the five positions on the floor. His quickness is also a key part of the Nuggets’ fast-paced offense. Brewer is known to run out after misses and spot up at the arc or drive to the basket where he is not afraid of contact.
Free agency looms for Brewer after the season. He should be No.1 on the Nuggets’ front office list to get re-signed. He is the second or third guy off the bench every night. Losing him would be a huge dent on the Nuggets, who could be even better next season.
Brewer, even though he is out there looking to score, is an energy guy as well. He looks to get the crowd in the game every chance he gets. When he hits a big shot or throws down a thunderous dunk, Brewer can be seen throwing his hands in the air looking for the Pepsi Center crowd to get on their feet.
That energy at home give the Nuggets one of the best home-court advantages in the league. With a 33-3 record at the Pepsi Center, no team wants to be playing in Denver during the NBA playoffs.
Brewer is not a role player or a star. He is somewhere in between. Would the Nuggets be in the NBA lottery without him? No. But would the Nuggets be battling for the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs? Probably not. He is valuable to any success this team is going to have the rest of the regular season and beyond into the playoff.
Brewer is another perfect fit in head coach George Karl‘s go-go-go offense. He runs, he plays defense and gets to the rim regularly.
In the Nuggets’ quest to win their first NBA championship, Brewer is an important piece of the title puzzle.