The Sixers’ biggest needs at this upcoming trade deadline are a backup center and a perimeter defender. The backup center issue is not resolved, but the perimeter defender might be. And the player the Sixers found may be more than that.
After the Eagles’ loss to the Saints, Keith Pompey floated a tweet out saying the Sixers would be bringing in veterans for a workout. The players consisted of shooters and defenders. After all the workouts, the Sixers chose Corey Brewer.
If you told me the Sixers would have had Corey Brewer play 25.2 minutes a game, I would have had you drug tested. No one expected Brewer to play as much as he has. That, of course, is because no one expected Jimmy Butler to miss three games.
In those three games, Corey Brewer has held James Harden to 37 points (lol). He played a key role in a Sixers’ comeback win vs. the Spurs. Plus, he happened to drop 20 points in a game the Sixers were down three starters.
Where did this all come from? Brewer played relatively well for the Thunder in the playoffs last year, yet Brewer was at home for the first part of the season. After his workout, the Sixers changed that.
Corey Brewer’s per 36 numbers since joining the team:
15.3 ppg | 4.3 rpg | 3.2 spg
If Brewer can keep this up, what does this mean for the trade deadline?
First things first, the Sixers still need a backup center. Badly. Possible options include Dewayne Dedmond, Noah Vonleh, Enes Kanter, etc.
However, Brewer will really change the Sixers plans. Not only has he defended, he has also scored. We all expected him to defend well, but 15 points per 36 minutes is shockingly good.
There aren’t many players that could give the Sixers more than Brewer is right now. To defend the opponent’s best player, score, and provide veteran leadership, all while being acquired midseason, is rare. Brewer has done that.
Brewer, who got his grittiness from working on his family farm, is providing a spark plug. When Brewer got Harden to foul him, he, WFC, and the Sixers bench went nuts. The fans love him, and most importantly, the teammates do too.
With Zhaire Smith now in the G-League taking the next step in his rehab, the Sixers rotation will get very interesting. Landry Shamet and T.J. McConnell are locks to stay in the rotation, and everyone else is iffy. My ideal bench rotation consists of McConnell, Shamet, Smith, Fultz, Bolden, and Brewer.
If we are being completely honest, I think McConell plays way too much. Hopefully, Fultz can return and take some of his minutes away.
Back to Brewer, his presence will be felt most in the playoffs. If they started right now, the Sixers would play the Celtics in round one. Before Brewer, the Sixers had no one who could guard Kyrie Irving when Jimmy Butler goes to the bench. Hopefully by that time, they have two: Zhaire Smith and Corey Brewer.
Smith got drafted expecting to guard the opponent’s best perimeter scorer, but with Brewer on the team the Sixers have way more flexibility in that department.
There will likely be a point where the Sixers will have to face a quick guard like Kyrie Irving in the playoffs, and having Brewer/Smith/Butler makes that so much easier.
While Elton Brand is getting a lot of heat for not addressing the bench (yet), Corey Brewer is looking like one of the best midseason waiver pickups in a looooong time.