Monday, March 21, 2011
Fouls aside, Brewer working for bigger role
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Corey Brewer isn't getting much playing time and when he does get on the floor, he's a walking foul.
The 6-foot-9 small forward acquired earlier this month by the Dallas Mavericks after the New York Knicks waived him as part of the fallout of the Carmelo Anthony trade, figured to help the Mavs mostly on defense. What he's done is mostly increase Dallas' foul-per-game average, which has been one of the lowest in the league.
Brewer has 19 fouls in 62 minutes of action with the Mavs, meaning he commits a foul every 3.26 minutes he's on the floor. It took him 1:25 upon entering Sunday's game in the second quarter to put Al Thornton on the line. Another 1:16 went by before Brewer got hit with foul No. 2.
Perhaps it's just a matter of Brewer trying too hard to make plays as he tries to carve out a niche in the rotation with the playoffs bearing down. After all, Brewer only averaged 2.5 fouls a game over his three-plus year career. In 56 games with Minnesota before joining the Mavs, he was averaging 2.4 fouls a game.
Meanwhile, Brewer has averaged just 3.0 points and 8.9 minutes in the seven games he's managed to get in with the Mavs. Three times coach Rick Carlisle never called his number.
Brewer chose to sign with Dallas and even signed on for additional years when he was being courted by double-digit franchises, including title contenders like the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.
"I felt good about about the situation, but at the same time I knew it was going to be tough," Brewer said. "These guys were playing really good basketball before I got here, one of the best records in the league. I knew coach was comfortable with the guys he already has so I'm just trying to earn some minutes any way I can right now."
So it's not beyond the imagination to think that Brewer might be pressing a bit when his 3-point attempt in the second quarter missed everything. Since he played 17 minutes in the rout of the Knicks on March 10, Brewer has played a total of 24 minutes in the last five games, which included DNP-CDs (Did Not Play - Coach's decision) last week at Portland and in Friday's loss to the Spurs.
And while moving from a perennial cellar-dweller to a contender is a breath of fresh air, the increased bench time can also be disconcerting for a player who averaged more than 30 minutes a game last season and 24.3 minutes this season with the Timberwolves.
Brewer said he's staying positive and taking it one at a time.
"I'm not discouraged. This is a different situation," Brewer said. "These guys have been here. They've been playing well. I'm just trying to find my way and just trying to get in line, whatever I can do to help right now. I'm not trying to push the issue of 'I want to play, I need to play.'"