On Sunday, Corey Brewer’s second 10-day contract expired, returning the Philadelphia 76ers legend to the world of free agency. Maybe he winds up as a member of the Sixers again this season, but for now, the team wait to see how the trade deadline and the buyout market play out before making any decision on whether or not Brewer is worth bringing back for the rest of the year. The smart answer is that there’s bound to be some other use for Brewer’s roster spot, though it’s still entirely possible we see him in a Sixers uniform again this season.
Still, for now, it’s time to wish Brewer farewell, and to remember the weirdness of the Corey Brewer era. What other player on a 10-day contract can excite a fan base so much that there are Twitter giveaways of his jersey?
Brewer was brought in at the perfect time for him to etch himself into the minds of Sixers fans — Jimmy Butler was missing time and the team needed a spark, and there’s very few people in the NBA who can provide a spark in the same way that Brewer can. His defensive efforts against James Harden became a thing of legend, as did his kick to the head of Torrey Craig.
Let’s revisit the best moments of Corey Brewer’s time here, and also talk a little about why it’s probably for the best that his time as a Sixer is (probably) over.
Corey Brewer: Very Fun Man
Corey Brewer is a lot of fun. He runs down the court like an NFL special teams gunner, and the way he hounded James Harden and got under his skin was admirable even if you grew up a huge Rockets fan (like I did). Brewer did one of the things you probably shouldn’t do in the NBA — annoy a very good player who has the skill to take that annoyance and channel it into some offensive fireballs — and did it so well that Harden looked broken at times on the floor.
I mean, look at the hustle on this play:
Brewer is right there to contest that Harden 3, and then he’s off like a freight train the other way, jamming down a pass from Ben Simmons. And that wasn’t the only time in that particular game that Brewer did that:
There was no Harden on the floor there to defend, but Brewer’s ability to see that a turnover is in progress, and then immediately head toward the basket, is great awareness and rates high on the How Fun Is This NBA Player meter.
Brewer is the ultimate wildcard, and when your team is dealing with the level of injury depletion that the Sixers are right now, that wildcard is a great player to have. Brewer’s ability to use his body to make plays leads to some interesting steals like this one:
Brewer just, like, runs into DeMar DeRozan and ends up with the steal. This is how I used to play on NBA Live 2003 when I was a kid — raise your hands, hold down turbo, and just run into people until someone drops the ball. Seeing an NBA player who, in real life, looks like me on a video game is refreshing, and it’s a big part of why the Corey Brewer Experience is so much fun.
And who can forget the biggest highlight of Sixers Corey Brewer: this dunk.
I hope your first thought upon seeing that for the first time was I hope Torrey Craig is okay, but once you realized he was okay, your second thought should have been some form of wordless wonder. Let’s freeze frame on this moment:
Brewer’s gotten out ahead of all of his teammates here like he’s on the break, but there are four Nuggets players who can just run out there and try to crowd the paint and not let Brewer get right to the basket for the slam. This is one of those moments where if I were an NBA player, I’d probably slow down, get the ball back to my point guard, run an offensive set...something of that nature, you know?
I am not Corey Brewer.
The Brew Choo Choo decides that no, the conductor can’t make a stop right now, and he keeps driving. Nikola Jokic is the Nugget who decides to take on the task of getting to the basket to try to contest something, but Jokic is a touch slow:
And, well...you know the rest.
How about Brewer jumping in front of Nikola Jokic for this steal?
Jokic is one of the league’s top big men, but when Brewer gets switched onto him, he immediately doesn’t care about Jokic’s credentials and jumps the pass to him. That was one of four steals for Brewer against the Nuggets.
Brewer also blocked some shots, though those two blocks came exclusively against the Rockets.
Imagine being James Ennis right there and having Brewer swing in and block your shot.
Or, imagine being Gerald Green on this one and having the same thing happen:
All of these highlights came from Brewer’s first four Sixers games. The second 10-day contract didn’t go nearly as well, but that’s life — Corey Brewer does good and enjoyable things, and then your team gets their key rotation pieces back and you decide that it makes sense to keep Brewer on the sidelines, because the things he brings to the floor don’t always outweigh the things that he takes away.
But — and this is an important but — Corey Brewer is still a Sixers legend, and should never be forgotten.
What’s Next? Why Not Brewer?
Again, Corey Brewer is a lot of fun, but fun doesn’t win basketball games.
The last time Brewer had a positive box plus/minus was the 2013-14 season when he was in Minnesota. He has done things like “shoot under 30 percent on corner 3s in three of the last four seasons,” “average a higher turnover rate than assist rate for his career,” and just generally be an issue on the offensive end of the ball.
The Sixers are going to explore the trade market and the buyout market for someone who does what this team needs on the wings — shoots 3-pointers and defends. We can’t deny that Brewer can do one of those things, but his shooting has been so lackluster at times that you just can’t trust him on the floor. We’re talking about a player who shot just 31 percent last season on catch-and-shoot 3s. We should all love Corey Brewer, but we should also recognize that his roster spot is better served being used on someone else at this time.