- Keith Lipscomb, Fantasy
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It's been quite a week for Corey Brewer. While it's too bad it took an injury to Antoine Walker for Brewer to get extended minutes, let's just say the rookie from the University of Florida has taken full advantage of the opportunity.
Brewer snatched 18 rebounds in 44 minutes in Atlanta on Dec. 6. Talk about something I never saw coming, and I don't mean just because he hadn't been getting consistent minutes, either. As fine an athlete as he is, Brewer had only four double-digit rebound games in his three-year career with the Gators (108 games), with a single-game high of 12.
So what does he do next time out? He rips down 11 boards at home against Phoenix on Saturday. Brewer never recorded double-digit rebounds in consecutive games at Florida, so chalk up yet another first (post-high school, at least) for Brewer. Walker returned to action, albeit for just six minutes, Tuesday night but Brewer still logged 40 minutes and came up just shy of a third straight double-digit effort on the glass (he had nine boards).
What's impressive to me is that Brewer is doing this despite the fact that Al Jefferson and Craig Smith have combined to average 20 rebounds per game during this three-game stretch. Brewer is doing his board work on the defensive end, where he can use his quickness and length to his advantage and rebound outside of his area.
Now onto something that isn't so impressive about Brewer, at least 18 games into his NBA career. No, it's not that he's been a part of nearly as many losses (16) already than he had in his career in Gainesville (18). That's not his fault; the Wolves are simply outclassed on many nights. It's that Brewer hasn't been able to hit the broad side of a barn in the first six weeks of play.
How bad has it been? Tuesday night in Washington marked the 13th time this season he has attempted more than two field goals in a game, but the first time he has shot better than 50 percent when doing so.
And it's not simply because he's shooting poorly from 3-point land. While Brewer's 6-for-23 shooting from behind the arc doesn't have Randy Wittman drawing up triple screens to get him more looks from deep, Brewer hasn't been much better from inside 23 feet, 9 inches (28-of-82, 34.1 percent). Side note: Wittman returned from back surgery Tuesday night and wasn't on the sidelines for Brewer's two-game rebound binge.
We'll have to wait to see how much of a hit Brewer's minutes take once Walker is back at full speed -- after all, frontcourt mate Ryan Gomes plays a role in how minutes are distributed as well -- but his latest efforts are hard to ignore. There's no question Brewer is a solid option in keeper leagues, as well as in deep, non-keeper formats. However, I can't recommend him in leagues of fewer than 14 teams until he shows me he can knock down shots in the half-court with regularity.
After all, if there's one common theme to this analysis of Brewer's early-season results, it's that he's not in Gainesville anymore and easy, fast-break buckets to boost that field-goal percentage aren't plentiful in Minneapolis these days.
Keith Lipscomb is an editor for ESPN.com Fantasy Games.
Keith Lipscomb discusses the statistical oddity that has been Corey Brewer's season.