Post-game Reactions

Marc Stein of ESPN.com gets us caught up with the latest, with the C’s bringing in the rear of the pack when it comes to money it can offer, but making a strong push on all fronts otherwise:

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that Boston is pushing as hard for Brewer as anyone, given that the Celts tried to trade for Brewer before Minnesota sent him to New York as part of the three-way Carmelo Anthony deal. Celtics president Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers are said to be Brewer fans and personally lobbying him. Hard.

But Boston and San Antonio, in this case, can’t compete financially with the Dallas Mavericks, who have their full mid-level exception remaining — worth just under $4 million as of Wednesday because the figure is reduced daily from its original $5.8 million at this juncture of the season — to comfortably exceed any offer the Celtics or Spurs could make.

The Celts actually have the least to pitch financially of the three teams, sitting more than $5 million over the luxury-tax threshold and limited to offering a pro-rated share of the league minimum just as they gave Murphy. With the Spurs only about $1 million away from the tax line and likewise only possessing cap exceptions worth $1.5 and $1.2 million, respectively, Dallas would appear to have a clear bidding advantage over their neighbors from the NBA elite, fitting as it might be to see Brewer wind up with the Spurs given the frequent comparisons linking Brewer to Bruce Bowen.

Stein also mentions Sasha Pavlovic as a potential backup candidate if the C’s aren’t able to convince Brewer to come to Boston. We now wait anxiously though to see if Ainge can go 2 for 2 on his sell jobs. A few mixed perspectives on Brewer:

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on his potential value:

Brewer may well be the league’s leading candidate to be the next Bruce Bowen, and is an interesting test case in how statistics can be used effectively to enhance, not replace, the human eye.

Basically, despite playing for a miserable Timberwolves team, he has showed up very well in almost any stat that incorporates defense — plus/minus, adjusted plus/minus, opponents’ productivity, etc. Some of that is probably an artifact of the reality that it’s easy to be efficient when you aspire to do little on offense. Brewer doesn’t take a lot of bad shots, he can feed the post, and he’s incredibly high energy so he cleans up on turnovers and with easy buckets.

Defensive statistics are among the least conclusive statistics in existence, so I’m not arguing to use those statistics to hand out contracts and roster spots. But I am arguing to use them as an early warning system, and to guide the video basketball decision-makers spend their precious time watching.

Smart teams, I’d wager, have been watching Corey Brewer for a long time for this exact reason.

And what they have been seeing is a defensive show. Once you clue in to the guy, it’s glaringly obvious that no one on the court is defending like him. He’s narrow, long, strong, quick and feisty — which is a perfect set of attributes to fight over a screen. He has great hands. He goads non-shooters into shooting, and keeps great shooters from making a catch. He talks constantly on defense — he’s not only in the right place, but he knows where everybody else is supposed to be, too.

If we lived in a world where defense was valued as much as offense, YouTube would be filled with highlights of Brewer making things unusually tough for Manu Ginobili, Kevin Durant, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and others.

I can hear what the Knicks are thinking: In Mike D’Antoni’s offense, they need to space the floor, they need to give their playing time to shooters. Even here, just looking at his career 31 percent 3-point field goal percentage is not enough. His 384 career 3 attempts include dozens of end-of-quarter heaves. He might lead the league in those. And there’s reason to suspect he has the potential to punish defenses that leave him alone: Last year, even with all those Hail Marys, he had a strech of months shooting better than 40 percent from downtown, setting a Minnesota franchise record most consecutive games with a made 3, and prompting John Hollinger to call Brewer perhaps the most improved NBA shooter ever.

The entire time he’s also (like his Gator teammates Al Horford and Joakim Noah, with whom he won two national titles, and lost just one tournament game of any kind in three years) relentlessly cheery and supportive of his teammates, racing all over the place to deliver high-fives and to pick up fallen teammates. He has stayed upbeat while being the injured and forgotten benchwarmer on a terrible team. In other words, there’s no reason to suspect he’d be a threat to any team’s chemistry.

There are NBA teams that have really embraced advanced statistical analysis. The list is long, and is headed by the likes of Houston, Dallas, Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. If the Knicks were among them, I can’t imagine they’d have let Brewer go. And now that he’s free to sign with a team really values him, I’ll make two predictions: Brewer will sign with a team that is sophisticated in its use of stats, and over the next couple of years, he will make that team better.

And with a bit of a negative spin on Brewer’s offense we have Rob Mahoney’s off the New York Times Off The Dribble Blog:

Brewer has no effective range to anchor his offensive performance. He still gets to the rim a fair amount, but poor shooting percentages from every other area on the floor (especially from 3-point range) completely negate the impact of those attempts.

Three and D” specialists in the Bowen mold are useful in part because they don’t step outside themselves on offense. They spot up in the corner or run the baseline, but only impact the game offensively when gifted the opportunity. Passes out of double-teams, drive-and-kick feeds – these are the mechanisms that allow perimeter defensive specialists to score. Otherwise, such players are nonfactors on offense.

That’s not the case with Brewer, who has posted a significantly higher usage rate than Shane Battier, James Jones, or many of his other perimeter defending contemporaries. Brewer fancies himself a more active participant in the offense, and , that mindset results in a lot of errant jumpers. He doesn’t break even; Brewer is using too many possessions on low-percentage shots, and not making the kind of widespread defensive impact that could balance out his offensive deficit.

I tend to worry less about this, since in the C’s locker room a player that looks for his offense will be glued to the bench and quickly. Still, it’s important to note both sides of the argument as we wonder whether Brewer will be a useful asset if he arrives in Beantown.

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Brian Robb

Brian Robb co-founded CelticsHub in 2009 and is the currently editor-in-chief. He is a producer and reporter at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and also contributes to Boston.com and Bleacher Report among other outlets.
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  • the.truth.hurts.

    this is team is almost set for the title run. im my opinion we really could use one more solid defender for the puzzle to be complete. brewer could be this guy. im not getting my hopes up though. but if we got him it'd be great. i believe our offense has the pieces it needs and we just need one final piece to secure our defense. i am really liking this team right now. i just pray we dont get any more injuries… go c's

    • danny

      Danny is that you?

  • keltic

    Not sure how Abbott still has a job in this biz…the guy adds no value in every article ive read by him…anyway brewer would be a great role player on any contender hope he takes less and comes to boston

    • Ryan DeGama

      You really think there's nothing of value in that excerpt?

      • keltic

        Yes. I don't know if it is true or not but he just seems like the he has never dribbled a basketball in his life, and makes all these "statistical" predictions because he doesn't fully understand the game of basketball. He overcompensates for his lack any type of concrete knowledge of the game with stat overkill. The next Bruce Bowen? I think that is a bad comparison. Brewer's style of defense is totally different then Bowen.

        • Chris

          Nah, Henry's okay. I don't think he ever laced 'em up at a high level, but he's a pick-up hoops junkie. Not to mention that he's the Godfather of hoops blogging and has done a ton to bring it into the mainstream.

          I disagreed with his bizarre "bet" at the beginning of the season about Darko being a more important signing that Shaq (especially after the Perk trade), but he generally knows his stuff and I actually thought this was one of his better player analyses.

        • Ryan DeGama

          Well, a couple of responses to that…

          Henry can definitely play ball, but even if he had almost no experience, that really wouldn't disqualify him from being a great analyst/writer about basketball. Plus, I think anyone who has read his writing (or many of the other TH writers) would struggle to make a case these people don't know the game, unless they begin with that conclusion in mind.

          Leaning on advanced stats isn't a substitute for knowing the game, but knowing the game shouldn't preclude us from using the best hard information available – which is often the advanced stats. We all have our biases and anecdotally-based beliefs. Stats help us vet those for accuracy.

          Plus, I think you're missing the point about Brewer. Style of defense is irrelevant. The point is that he and Bowen are both (potentially) players who make significant impact to the final score of a game by virtue of their D, even though their offensive numbers lead them to be underrated overall. That's what the numbers imply. Do you disagree, based on watching them play?

          • keltic

            Ok, I'll come clean. I think I can do better then most professional sports writers. I like to think I have an advanced knowledge of the game, and if a writer continually puts out articles that state the obvious and lack any new or intriguing insight then I have no problem calling them out once in awhile.

            I guess for basketball newbies Mr. Abbot is great, and I can't expect all readers to have advanced knowledge of the game. So for that I'll give him credit. I just prefer guys that aren't afraid to go against the grain and take some risk once in awhile and put your name on the line (personality doesn't hurt either). That, to me, is what makes a great writer.

            I really respect anyone that puts that much effort into the game, whether it be writing or playing. But, sometimes it just baffles me how some guys get this far being average. Right place at the right time I guess.

    • Razah

      Don't agree with every Abbott article, but he does make some of the most retarded BS predictions and analysis crap i've ever read.

  • torpid bunny

    Does he play shooting guard?

    • Chico

      Yea he can play the 2 or the 3 at 6'8. He's a great pick up for anybody.

  • kricky

    It sounds like he's the reincarnation of Trick'or'Treat Tony.
    I'd love for us to get him. But I can't see him passing on more money and PT in Dallas.

    • Robert

      Yea, sadly that does seem like the logical choice for Brewer. On top of more money and PT, Dallas is also warmer. Considering Brewer was born in Tenn, and went to school if Florida, I'm guessing he'd probably prefer their climate.

  • Darius

    Brewer’s hometown is right up the street from me. Maybe I should go tie a celtic’s flag to the “Home of Corey Brewer” sign?

    Nonetheless he’d make a great addition, but it’d be hard to turn down 4+million for a couple months of service and a probable first or second round departure.

    I do however think we have the more appealing system for his style of play, and I could see him sticking around for longer than just this season.

    It’s a long shot, but here’s for hoping.

    • Darius

      4+ million more than our best offer I should say. Lower pay, longer hours on the way to #18!

  • Chico

    As much as i'd like to have him and think he'd fit into the scheme of things there's no minutes for him here n Boston. I'm still waiting to see jeff green get more incorporated n2 the offense. If someone got hurt it'd b a different story but rite now we're good. we don't need any extra talented disgruntled players sitting on the bench.

  • jesse

    For the long term, I think it will benefit Brewer if he signs for the Celtics because he will be able to showcase his defensive proficiency playing for a defensive-minded title contender and become more exposed to a national telecast. This will raise his stock and he may get a lucrative contract next offseason, similar to what happened to James Posey and Tony Allen.

    • talesofJP

      maybe we get him next year?

  • hillcrestwildcat

    Next year is more likely probably. Like to have him be suprised if it happened, but I think Azubuike is a better gamble than Sasha, PLEASE no Sasha. Also he's more talented than Tony Allen and taller.

  • keltic

    wow that's the only error i have in that whole rant? I'm pretty impressed with myself considering it took 45 seconds to write and post

  • hdavenport

    Stein tweets that Brewer is headed to the Mavs.

    • Chris O

      Yes I read that earlier, also Butler to CHI for whoever cares, and it looks like we are gonna win the Sasha sweepstakes from my sources

  • You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.