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Should the Mavericks bring back Corey Brewer?

An old friend provides a potential solution to the Mavericks’ wing depth woes with Harrison Barnes nursing a hamstring injury.

Utah Jazz v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks have a problem. Heading into the regular season, the team is dealing with a number of injuries to key players. The most notable are the ones to Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes. Of the two, however, the absence of Barnes may have the biggest impact. In his two seasons in Dallas, he has been the team’s go-to player and the minutes he’s racked up have helped cover up the team’s lack of wing depth. With him sidelined, that fact will be exposed. To alleviate their perimeter issues, the Mavs need to consider bringing in another wing. If they do, they should look no further than Corey Brewer.

Last season, Brewer found new life playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder after being waived by the Los Angeles Lakers. Although he was only with the team for 24 games, including six in the playoffs, reuniting with head coach Billy Donovan seemed to give him the spark he needed after being relegated to the deep bench in L.A. Now, though, Brewer finds himself on the outside looking in. With the regular season starting, he remains a free agent. After his time with the Thunder, that’s hard to fathom.

What helped Brewer revitalize his game in OKC was the way in which he was used. With Russell Westbrook and Paul George as the primary offensive options, Brewer filled in for the injured Andre Roberson as the starting lineup’s 3-and-D option. In this role, Donovan molded him into a modern player, eliminating his shots from midrange and tightening his game. As a result, Brewer took an astonishingly even 46.5 percent of his shots within three feet of the rim as well as from behind the arc.

Another factor playing into Brewer’s transformation was his transition into a catch-and-shoot player. He didn’t dribble once on 66.4 percent of his shot attempts and touched the ball for less than two seconds before getting a shot off 71.6 percent of the time.

These numbers help explain why he posted some of the highest field goal percentages of his career with the Thunder. On two-point field goals, he shot 53.2 percent and 34.3 percent on three-point attempts. His three-point shooting percentage doesn’t tell the whole story of how effective he was behind the line, though. The majority of his shots, 80.6 percent, came from the corners. Here, Brewer shot 38.9 percent. It also helps that defenders often played off of him—Westbrook and George warrant a lot of attention—giving Brewer a slew of open looks.

On the other side of the ball, he may not be the lock-down defender that he was once credited to be, but he is still capable of disrupting opponents with his long arms. With the Thunder, he averaged 2.1 steals per game and posted a defensive rating of 105, tied for the second best mark of his career. His best defensive rating, 102, came during his time with the Mavericks. His ability to guard multiple positions is also invaluable with teams prone to switch more defensively.

With the Maverick’s fully embracing the modern NBA, adding a player like Brewer who thrived within that system last season makes sense. His ability to stretch the floor, knock down shots, harry opponents, and force turnovers are skills that every team desires. While Brewer’s skills may be most coveted by a team looking to make a playoff push rather than one in the throes of a rebuild, Dallas can plug its roster holes by bringing him in. If they do, chances are he’ll be more valuable than a bag of chips.