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Corey Brewer’s awful shooting ended his Rockets tenure

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Brewer’s failing three-point shot couldn’t keep up with the Rockets offense.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic
Corey Brewer was shooting a dismal 23.4% from three point land.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

**Edited to add comment Calvin Watkins posted from Brewer**

Corey Brewer is the only member of the Houston Rockets to ever fire the “El Capitan” cannon at a Houston Dynamo game. The man deserves some respect. Unfortunately for Brewer, his three-point shot doesn’t.

His three-point attempts were neither hitting their mark or firing often enough to keep pace with the 2016-2017 Houston Rockets. The combination got him a one-way ticket to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Houston is well on its way to breaking the all-time record for three-pointers made and taken. They’re averaging an NBA record 39.8 three-point attempts per game, a 28.8 percent increase from last season, and the Rockets lead the league with 45.9 percent of their shots coming from behind the arc.

It’s a strategy Brewer simply hasn’t been able to keep up with. He has retained his outlet speed and (some of) his finishing skills at the basket, but as the Rockets have increased their long distance hoists, Brewer’s relevance has waned.

And while the spidery swingman can clog passing lanes, his defense isn’t worth writing home about. His personal defensive performance nearly mirrors the Milwaukee Bucks’, who can easily boast the best wingspan in the league, but rank 21st in defensive efficiency.

Meanwhile, Brewer is shooting a team worst 23.4 percent from three and his poor shooting has forced the swingman into being gun-shy. He’s averaging only 1.6 three point attempts per game (again: the Rockets take 40 a night). This mark is the lowest per-game attempts for Brewer since 2009.

The inability for Brewer’s poor shooting to meld with the Rockets’ long-distance offense has driven him to a career low 15.9 minutes a game.

Brewer admitted as much to ESPN’s Calvin Watkins after the trade:

Here’s how Brewer stacks up against every Rocket who has taken more than 10 threes this season:

Per Game Table
Rk G MP 3P 3PA 3P% PTS/G
1 James Harden 58 36.6 3.2 9.1 .353 29.2
2 Trevor Ariza 58 34.6 2.5 7.1 .353 11.7
3 Ryan Anderson 55 30.8 2.8 6.8 .407 13.9
4 Eric Gordon 52 30.5 3.5 9.2 .385 17.2
5 Patrick Beverley 44 30.5 1.7 4.3 .390 9.6
7 Sam Dekker 58 19.7 0.9 2.7 .323 7.4
10 Corey Brewer 58 15.9 0.4 1.6 .234 4.2
11 K.J. McDaniels 29 7.3 0.3 0.9 .333 2.8
12 Tyler Ennis 31 6.3 0.2 0.5 .375 1.9
14 Kyle Wiltjer 9 3.2 0.3 1.1 .300 1.1
15 Bobby Brown 17 3.0 0.2 0.8 .286 1.2
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/21/2017.

Even worse than the raw stats is the heat map. Brewer isn’t shooting the three well from any part of the court. In the right corner, he shoots just under 30%, meaning Brewer taking an open corner three still isn’t a worthwhile possession.

Corey Brewer’s 2016 - 2017 three point shooting heat map.

For comparison’s sake, Lou Williams is shooting better than 50 percent on corner threes this season.

Worse than the heat map from this season on its own is that it’s not an anomaly. Brewer shot poorly across the board last season as well...

Corey Brewer’s 2015 - 2016 three point shooting heat map.

Even when the Rockets came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the L.A. Clippers in the 2015 playoffs Corey Brewer, despite being remembered as a hero, shot terribly from three:

Corey Brewer’s three point shot chart in the 2015 Rockets-Clippers playoff series.

Individuals who remember Brewer’s 50-point game would likely point out his strength around the rim and on the run have not diminished, which is true. Brewer still finishes at a 64 percent clip around the rim:

Corey Brewer’s disparate finishing clip around the rim and from the corners.

But Brewer’s field goal attempts are at a career low 3.9 a game, while 41.4 percent of those shots are coming from deep. That percentage is a career high, and means the bulk of Brewer’s shots are ineffective and failed to give the Rockets a reason to keep Brewer on the court. Or, frankly, on the team.