DALLAS -- Corey Brewer, at a slender 188 pounds, can launch his 6-foot-9 projectile of a frame practically through the roof of any arena. Leaping has never been the downside of his game. It's putting the basketball through the basket from 15 feet and deeper that failed to develop during three-plus seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
That's why Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle relentlessly went one-on-one with the mid-season acquisition, putting the young pogo stick through stiffer workouts after practices and shootarounds than Brewer saw in most games.
"We were shooting a lot trying to get my jump shot to be consistent," Brewer said Saturday before playing in Josh Howard's charity exhibition game at which Brewer unleashed several gravity-defying dunks. "All the other things I do well, but I need to be a consistent jump-shooter, especially in our offense. The way we pass the ball you get a lot of open shots."
Brewer started 63 percent of the 232 games he played on those downtrodden Wolves teams. When he chose to sign with veteran-laden Dallas after being traded to the New York Knicks as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal and then being waived by New York, Brewer mostly sat at the end of the Mavs' bench or was inactive.
He had the one brilliant eight-minute performance off the bench in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers that sparked the Mavs to a second-half double-digit comeback. He played 11 total minutes during the rest of the championship run.
"I always felt like this was a good move for my future. We have a lot of guys that are aging and I feel like I’d get a chance to come here and help," Brewer said, smiling wide, which is something of a trademark for the affable 25-year-old. "I was happy to be on the team last year and I helped as much as I could, but I knew I wasn’t going to get much time. But now, it’s a new year."
And it will be interesting to see what's in store for Brewer, who has split his prolonged offseason between Dallas and his native Tennessee, whenever the 2011-12 season begins. Much depends on which players return to the Dallas roster. Will free agent Caron Butler be the starting small forward with Shawn Marion coming off the bench? Or will Marion become the starter with Brewer sliding into the backup role?
After all, for all the shooting work Brewer put in behind the scenes, his numbers suggest it was working. In 13 regular-season games with the Mavs, Brewer shot 49.0 percent from the field (and was 4-of-9 in the playoffs), well above the 38.4 percent he shot last season in Minnesota and better than his career-best mark of 43.1 percent two seasons ago.
"I feel I’m going to get a chance to play this season," Brewer said. "That’s what it’s all about. I just want to help the team win. It’s all about winning right now."
Actually, right now it's all about waiting until the labor situation is rectified and the lockout is lifted. Then, we'll finally get some answers.