Corey Brewer signed a three-year deal to stay in Houston with Rockets this summer. After being acquired last season from the Timberwolves, he became a valued member of the team. His energy, his fast breaks, his scoring punch off the bench was a big reason the Rockets were one of the most dangerous teams in the league.
This season Brewer has seen a precipitous production decrease across the board. His minutes are down, and his overall shooting percentage has taken a nosedive.
"I don't worry about Brew's shot," head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said following practice Wednesday, "that's not why Brew's effective. His shot is a bonus. It's all the other things, it's all the instinctive things that he does, it's all the plays that he makes when it's time to make those plays."
Last year when Brewer was out ahead on a fast break, you could count on him finishing at the rim. He led the league in transition points per possession. This season it has been a little bit like buying fireworks from the cheapo, firework stand: sometimes it's a great finish and a big bang and sometimes it's a complete dud. He's only at .98 points per possession, in the 28th percentile leaguewide. That's abysmal.
This season from three feet and closer, Brewer is shooting 50.7 percent, more than 10 points down from last year (64.5 last year in Houston). But Bickerstaff still sees value in what Brewer does, despite his shot not falling the way it did last year.
The coach mentioned Brewer's effort plays, the way he runs the floor and makes cuts and the general overall way he always flies around.
"With Brew, when there is a winning play that needs to be made, I got a lot of trust in Brew that he's going to make that winning play," Bickerstaff said. "It won't always be a basket. It might be a rotation, it might be a breakout layup, it could be a number of things that help you win. In those situations I'm confident that Brew can make those plays and has in the past."
There is still a lot to like about Brewer even when his shot isn't falling, and you can't expect for his shot not to come back. Eventually, he will find his stroke and get hot again. Until then at least, they have a guy whose energy and effort is the same night in and night out.