Corey Brewer’s smile will go down in history. Beaming from ear-to-ear, it became his signature feature to many—as opposed to his game. But to sleep on Brewer’s game was a mistake many, including the Dallas Mavericks, made.
No one fully appreciated Brewer and the hustle he brought nightly during his time with the Mavericks. The versatile, 6-foot-9 swingman was an archetype ahead of his time. Still, under the radar and out of the spotlight, Brewer helped solidify a championship team. He not only played with gall, using every opportunity to try and create an advantage, he gave us a glimpse at the future of the NBA that we now take for granted.
Brewer joined the Mavericks on March 3, 2011 after nearly a month in purgatory as a member of the New York Knicks after the Minnesota Timberwolves dealt him in a multi-player deal too big to list here. He never suited up for New York, but as they say, “Once a Knick, always a Knick.”
Head coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t keen on playing Brewer much after he joined the club. Out of 22 possible regular season games in which he could play, Brewer saw minutes in just 13. It was a shortsighted decision on Carlisle’s part. When he saw extended, meaningful minutes, he was usually a net positive presence on the floor.
On April 8, he showed why he deserved more playing time. Against the Los Angeles Clippers, Brewer got the start—just his second with his new club. In 30 minutes of action, he was everywhere. He broke the Clippers in every way possible. Where they weren’t he was. He scrapped for loose balls, rebounded, drove baseline, cut behind the defense, dunked, ran the floor in transition, found open teammates—specifically Tyson Chandler in the paint—had a SportsCenter-worthy block, drew a charge, and generally made Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro’s night anything but enjoyable.
He even forced a steal and eventually dished to Dirk Nowitzki for a one-handed jam.
Brewer ended the night with 20 points on 50 percent shooting, six rebounds, four assists, four steals, and one block. He was a plus-nine in a 107-96 win.
Oh. OH! Dirk also went off too! He had 20 points on 62.5 percent shooting, eight rebounds, and seven assists. He was a plus-30. Not too shabby for peak Dirk.
Don’t believe me? Let’s
roll that beautiful bean footage look the tape, graciously provided by MMB’s own Panda Hank. (Like and subscribe, you know the drill.)
If anyone else wrote this post, they would likely fawn over Dirk’s performance. They would be right to do so, but there’s a reason they keep me around at Mavs Moneyball. I am Homer and the legend of Corey Brewer is my epic poem. The Mavericks trading him for Rudy Fernandez, WHO MADE IT MORE THAN CLEAR AT THE TIME HE HAD NO INTEREST IN PLAYING IN THE NBA ANY LONGER, is one of the greatest travesties in franchise history.
I’m not willing to let bygones be bygones, clearly, but the past is the past. But we’ll always have this memory of Brewer and Dirk roasting the Clippers. Nothing can take that away. Two eventual champions playing at the top of their games.
Beautiful. Just like Brewer's smile.