Brewer content with secondary role, being 'fourth option on the floor'
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The lofty expectations and the pressures to produce that come with being a top-10 NBA draft pick enveloped Corey Brewer throughout his initial stay with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Brewer was expected by many onlookers to become a top-line threat on a struggling team. It was an identity he couldn't realistically fulfill. The Wolves traded him away in 2011, watching from afar as he honed in on finding his place in the NBA.
More than two years later, Brewer has returned to the Wolves. But this time his role has changed, and in turn, the end result could change as well.
After a brief stint with the Dallas Mavericks during their 2011 NBA championship run, Brewer landed in Denver. It was there, under the tutelage of straight-shooting coach George Karl, that Brewer began to evolve.
Pressed by Karl to stop himself from over thinking and to make quicker decisions, Brewer found he could thrive as a reliable, defensive-minded option of the bench. What resulted was a 2012-13 season in which he produced 12.1 points per game with a controlled 24.4 minute on-court average (In 2009-10, he averaged 13 points -- his career-high scoring average -- in nearly six more minutes of playing time).
Now back with the Wolves after signing a three-year, $15 million free agent deal last week, Brewer is again adopting a secondary role, one he fully embraces.
"I feel like I'm in a similar situation that I just came out of," Brewer said Sunday morning on a conference call. "I had guys like Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari I just played my game and was able to get a lot of easy stuff. I'm like the fourth option on the floor. It's a good thing."
Brewer encountered suitors from several teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings, before he opted to take up Flip Saunders, Wolves' president of basketball operations, on his offer.
But it wasn't just Saunders who tried to woo Brewer back to Minnesota. Close friends and offseason training partner Kevin Martin, who was recently brought in by the Wolves as part of a three-team trade, hounded Brewer with calls and texts, trying to convince the 27-year-old small forward to join him.
Brewer's voice fills with noticeable excitement when he talks about the chance to play with Martin.
"I feel like I'm a complement. I can play D and he's going to light the scoreboard up," he remarked.
Brewer has returned to the city he called home for four years, but he brings with him a new identity and a refreshed outlook.
"I never thought I'd be coming back," Brewer said. "But I'm happy for the opportunity to be back, because I really didn't want to leave."