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The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently 9-35, but there are a few bright spots on their roster, as well as other things to consider when discussing the future for them.
For one, the Wolves have a growing point guard in Jonny Flynn, who's proving that he can knock down clutch shots, create his own opportunities on a consistent basis, has incredible charisma, is learning to run a team, and has made significant strides on the defensive end.
The Timberwolves also have the best rebounding power forward in the league, Kevin Love, and the best upcoming low-post scorer in the league, Al Jefferson.
In the NBA, young teams are defined by what analysts like to call "nucleus," meaning there's around three players that the majority of the numbers will come from. The Timberwolves' nucleus at the beginning of the season was named by most, Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love, and Al Jefferson.
But there's been a surprise for the Timberwolves, and his name is Corey Brewer.
To start the season, Corey Brewer was averaging 11 points per game, shooting horrible percentages, looking sloppy almost all the time, couldn't hit a jumper to save his life, and couldn't finish in transition, and up until now, most Wolves fans had written him off.
But halfway into the season, Brewer has improved dramatically; his scoring and percentages are up, his defense is well above average, and he has really solidified his status as part of the Wolves "nucleus," hardening it into a core.
October (two games) and November's Stats: 10.5 PPG, 5.25 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.2 SPG, 1.05 BPG, shooting 37% from the field, and 18% from the 3-point line.
December's Stats: 12.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG, shooting 46% from the field and 27% from the 3-point line.
January's Stats: 14.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.0 BPG, shooting 44% from the field and 44% from the 3-point line.
As you can see, the points have increased every month. His rebounds took a drop because Kevin Love came back and averages more than 12 rebounds a game. His steals and blocks are pretty consistent and his assists have gone up.
In January, Brewer's presence has been felt, and not just on the stat line. In his last 20 games, Brewer has scored in double digits 16 times, and has scored 15 points or more nine times.
Brewer and the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching staff has been hard at work on his shot and balance, and it's been said that Brewer undergoes a rigorous 30-minute shooting drill after every single practice, and it's in serious effect. In his last eight games, Brewer has shot 48 percent from the three-point line, hitting 16 for 33 attempts.
For a third year player, Brewer has shown improvement in every aspect of his game that cannot be displayed on the stat line.
The Minnesota Timberwolves played the Oklahoma City Thunder a few days ago, and Brewer matched up with Kevin Durant, a superstar in the making. Both standing 6-foot-9, it was determined to be a great matchup and it was.
Brewer held Durant scoreless for 10 minutes, and while guarding him, he tallied 25 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, shot 10-17 from the field and 2-4 from the three-point line.
His demeanor on the court is more intense, he appears more balanced with his ball handling, he's driving to the basket and finishing, and dunking with authority. He's extremely disruptive in the passing lanes, he contests shots and is more often than not, on time with his defensive rotations.
Considering the fact that head coach Kurt Rambis and even David Kahn have stated that Brewer has a lot of work to do as it is, at this rate, Brewer is playing himself into the role of "starter."
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