The Philadelphia 76ers signed veteran swingman Corey Brewer to the first of two 10-day contracts on January 15th. It didn't take long for the grizzled pro to endear himself to Sixers fans with an array of hustle plays. More importantly, Brewer's play has rubbed off on a young Sixers bench as they look for an identity.
With inspiring performances against James Harden and DeMar DeRozan respectively, teammates and fans are hopeful the hustling Brewer has an extended stay in Philly.
Late in the first half of the 76ers MLK Day game against the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons tipped a loose ball to Corey Brewer who was streaking down the right side of the floor. Brewer, seeing his first extended minutes since joining the team threw down a crowd pleasing two-handed dunk. On the Rockets inbound, Brewer awkwardly planted himself in the mid-section of Rockets white-hot sniper James Harden. Brewer and Harden jostled for position for a few seconds before the official called Harden for the offensive foul. The home crowd rose to its feet in appreciation as Brewer's display of hard-nosed defense against the NBA's premier scorer help widen the gap as the Sixers cruised to a 121-93 victory. Brewer finished the game with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 33 minutes, finishing at a plus-17.
Brewer got his second consecutive start in place of an injured Jimmy Butler two nights later against the San Antonio Spurs, contributing 9 points and 2 steals.
Chances are good the Sixers will not enter the sweepstakes to acquire New Orleans Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis. General Manager Elton Brand will have his work cut out for him as he looks to strengthen a Sixers bench full of shooters, but lacking a backup center, perimeter defense and consistent scoring. Signing Brewer for the remainder of the season is a step in the right direction at solidifying help on the perimeter.
At 32, the man affectionately known as "The Greyhound" has energized the team whether in a starting or reserve role. Brewer will be a key reserve when the team is at full strength, not necessarily as a scoring option (which he can be) as much as he will be asked to be a leader on the floor. Since his days at the University of Florida under Billy Donovan, the 11-year veteran was part of a talented, defensive-minded two-time National Championship squad with teammates Al Horford and Joakim Noah.
At the ideal height of 6'8" and a spindly build Brewer is an ideal multiple position defender. The young Sixers bench is in need of veteran leadership. The rookies are beginning to pay dividends with shooters Landry Shamet and Shake Milton and a bruiser in 6'10, 220 lb. forward Jonah Bolden. Second player Furkan Korkmaz can fill it up as well and not to be forgotten is the reliable T.J. McConnell. Frontcourt veteran Amir Johnson and Mike Muscala go hard, but are either too slow or undersized in most situations.
Chances are the bench will have a different look after the trade deadline on Thursday, February 7th. With the playoffs on the horizon, the Sixers brass would be smart to hold on to this Greyhound, who's proven he has plenty of fight left.