While his team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, finished with the second-worst record in the NBA this past season, Corey Brewer is coming off his best pro campaign yet. The two-time NCAA champion at Florida was in consideration for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, averaging 13 points and 1.4 steals per game. He also had one of the season’s best dunks when he practically jumped over Derek Fisher in a game at the Staples Center. I caught up with Corey at the adidas Nations camp this weekend and we talked losing, Florida, and the Mall of America:
Dime: What has been the hardest part about going from Florida, where you won two national championships, to the NBA where your team hasn’t been as successful?
Corey Brewer: Year-long losing. You go from yearlong winning to year-long losing; it is really tough. When you play 82 games it can really wear on you. Like, you come home after a game and you’re like ‘Dang, another loss.’ It’s definitely been hard.
Dime: What are your expectations for this season?
CB: We have to get better. Everything starts this year. We have to get better. Maybe we can make the playoffs in one or two years, but it has to start this year. We have some continuity and talent, and we have to start improving right now.
Dime: How will the arrivals of Martell Webster and Wes Johnson affect your status?
CB: I don’t think it will have too big of an impact on me. I’m more of a shooting guard — I played there most of last year — and they are more small forwards. We are all going to play together, and try to help this team win.
Dime: How helpful will it be this year having stability at the coaching position, especially since you guys run the triangle?
CB: That will help us a lot. We know what Coach (Kurt Rambis) wants, we know what we have to do for him, what kind of plays he wants to run. We are familiar with the triangle now and know what to expect and what we can get out of it, last year was definitely an adjustment period. But myself, Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love, Darko, we’re familiar with it now so it helps a lot going forward.
Dime: Talk about the Derek Fisher dunk this year.
CB: (Laughs) It was pretty good, especially since it happened at Staples Center and hearing the crowd reaction was pretty cool. I thought he would move out of the way but he didn’t, so it made for a good highlight dunk.
Dime: Talk about what it meant being mentioned as a top candidate for Most Improved Player this past season?
CB: It means a lot getting recognized in consideration for that award. I had a bad first season and was injured my second year. I had a good year last year and improved a lot of my game, and I’m just going to keep improving and keep trying to get better.
Dime: What is your favorite place to shop at the Mall of America in Minnesota?
CB: (Laughs) My favorite store at Mall of America … hmm … probably Nordstrom. It has everything you could want like shoes, clothes, and all that stuff.
Dime: Ever since you, Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Co. left, Florida hasn’t been as successful. With their entire starting five returning next season, how good can they be?
CB: I think this is the year for them. They have their entire starting five returning this year, and four incoming freshmen including Patric Young and Casey Prather, who I think will have big impacts. So this is definitely the year for them to go far.