A year ago, Corey Brewer was one of the most beloved players in Houston. Several months later, Brewer has taken the biggest fall from grace in Clutch City.
In the midst of making a bold mid season move, the Rockets acquired Corey Brewer from the Minnesota Timberwolves. and also bolstered their bench with the addition of Josh Smith. Few questioned whether Houston made the right decision trading for Brewer.
Despite the negative attention received by many, Brewer made an immediate impact in Houston. During his debut in Clutch City. Brewer posted 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. In the Rockets 110-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Not only was Brewer a major upgrade to Houston’s bench, but he also improved the Rockets perimeter defense as well. A single void left unfilled since the departure of Shane Battier.
Unfortunately, like the Rockets as a whole. Brewer failed to meet high expectations. Brewer averaged 16.0 points during the preseason, and some critics considered him a dark horse for Sixth Man of the Year. Fast forward seven months later, Corey Brewer may have taken the biggest fall from grace more than any of his current teammates.
Dec 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) drives the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
2015-2016 Regular Season
82 games, 7.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.2 BPG, .384 FG%, .750 FT%
Despite appearing in all 82 games this season, Corey Brewer was more effective as a midseason acquisition. Who only played in 58 games without any form of training camp. To have a full understanding of how far Brewer has fallen. Just compare his season stats to last year.
On offense, Brewer has never been a consistent scorer, yet his opponents had to respect him on the offensive end. Due to his great leaping ability and outstanding body control. It allowed Brewer to drive to the basket and convert difficult plays few players can complete. It was the primary factor why he averaged 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists while shooting 43 percent from the field last season.
Perhaps Brewer forgot how to play to his advantage this season. He did not attack the basket and settled for many ill-advised shot attempts. Brewer had his worst field goal percentage since his rookie year shooting 38.4 percent. As well as a horrendous 27 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, Brewer’s biggest disappointment this season came on the defensive end.
Since he entered the league in 2007, Brewer has always been one of the NBA’s primary defenders. Sadly, Brewer did not contain that same defensive impact this season.
According to NBA.com’s Regular Season Defense Dashboard. Brewer allowed his opponents to shoot 47.4 percent this year. Last season, they shot 42 percent. Along with his lack of ability to contest shots. Brewer his seen a drop off in steals as well. Last season he averaged 2.4 steals. This year, Brewer barely averaged a steal at 1.0 per game.
Apr 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) controls the ball against Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) during the third quarter of game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
2016 Post Season
5 games, 4.4 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.2 BPG, .259 FG%, .875 FT%
Similar to the regular season, Corey Brewer remained irrelevant throughout the Rockets postseason run. In a five-game series against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. There were times were Brewer’s existence was forgettable.
In fact, the only time he scored in double figures came in Houston’s 121-94 loss in game 4. In which Brewer scored 10 points. Despite losing by 26 and only scoring three points. Brewer’s most efficient performance was during game 1 of the series. In which he grabbed five rebounds and six assists.
For a guy who averaged 20.4 minutes throughout the season, Brewer witnessed a huge drop off in his playing time during the postseason. Averaging only 15.4 minutes per game.
Arguably, this was Brewer’s worst career performance in the playoffs. In five games he averaged 4.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 25.9 percent shooting. Far from the 11.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 43 percent shooting during last year’s postseason run.
Feb 27, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) dribbles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. The Spurs defeated the Rockets 104-94. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
2016 Season Highlights
Even though he had one of the worst seasons of his pro career, there were a few games he showed flashes of the Drunken Dribbler.
If it was not for a few of Brewer’s unexpected performances. The Rockets would not have come out on the winning end of a few games. Remember his season-high 24 points and four steals in Houston’s 111-105 victory over the Phoenix Suns. It was easily Brewer’s best game of the season.
However, Brewer most memorable moment of the season came in the Rockets 108-103 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. In which Brewer hit a running three-pointer that sent Houston into overtime.
So if one were to take away Brewer’s top three moments of the season. The Rockets would not have been part of the postseason.
Mar 27, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Houston Rockets guard Corey Brewer (33) during a free throw in the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets by the score of 104-101. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
An Uncertain Future
There was a lot of hope for Corey Brewer at the start of the season. Now he is overlooked as the forgotten Rocket. A year ago it was critical for the Rockets to bring Brewer back. He signed a three-year deal and at the time it was the second best offseason move of the summer in Houston.
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Sad to say, but a year later, they should have let Brewer walk. Despite having two more years left on his contract, it would not be a surprise if Brewer is part of an offseason trade this summer. Honestly, it would be a surprise if Brewer is still on the roster heading into next season.
If Daryl Morey decides to keep Brewer around one more year, the Rockets will need Brewer to bring more energy, defensive intensity and consistency coming off the bench.
I hate to say it, but as a fan of the two-time NCAA champion. In the next few months expect to see Corey Brewer’s name added to the list of former Rockets players.
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