Most people probably don’t remember who the best player was on Billy Donovan’s back to back NCAA title Gator teams. Common guesses include Big Al Horford or Joakim Noah, both of whom were certainly difference makers. But most Gators (like myself) will tell you it was Corey Brewer without a moment of hesitation; he was the go-to-guy, especially in the clutch. Despite being a stud in college, though, his body simply didn’t translate to the NBA like Horford’s and Noah’s did at the time. Consequently he’s long been overshadowed by the big men from Gainesville.
Fast forward to 2013, where Corey Brewer is surprisingly ranked 52nd among all NBA players in Yahoo! leagues. He’s a good defender with a well rounded offensive game, who puts the team before himself in many cases. Brewer actually reminds me of J.J. Redick in a lot of ways: both were collegiate stars who had to adapt to life in the NBA, and both became solid, all around professionals after years of hard work and relative obscurity. As a result, Brewer makes for an excellent short term option for managers in need of a swingman; regardless of Chase Budinger’s eventual the return, and the fact that he’s probably maxed out from a statistical standpoint right now. He’s an especially useful choice if you’re still hanging on to a losing ticket at SF like Joe Johnson. Here’s how the numbers break down in this example, followed, predictably, by some observations.
Corey Brewer (44% owned): 47%fg, 75%ft, 1.1 3ptm, 13.9pts, 1.4asts, 2.6rbds, 2.0stls, 0.3blks, 1.7to
Joe Johnson (79% owned): 40%ft, 80%ft, 1.2 3ptm, 12.8pts, 2.4asts, 2.9rbds, 0.5stls, 0.1blks, 1to
Johnson wins on the margin 5-4
Brewer takes: fg%, points, steals, and blocks
Johnson takes: ft%, threes, assists, rebounds, and turnovers
- Johnson’s lead in threes is negligible, which are effectively a push here. The same thing could be said for rebounding; both players are ‘serviceable’ in these categories.
- If you’re smart and punt turnovers, Johnson’s appeal diminishes further. Adjusted marginal value is probably closer to +1 or +2 in favor of Brewer, depending on the needs of your team.
- Corey Brewer is an elite defender, whereas Johnson plays nearly zero defense. Brewer is currently ranked 11th overall in steals, on par with the likes of Iggy and Brow. He averaged 1.2 steals/game last season.
- A +1.5/game advantage in steals is worth far more than any advantage offered by Joe. Steals, and defensive stats in general, are the hardest categories to improve this time of the season.
- Johnson’s main appeal is as a scorer, in theory, but Brewer even out performs him here. While not as valuable as defensive numbers, I consider the ability to score regularly an integral skill of waiver targets. If you’re like me, and you focused on assists and defense in the draft, its important to pick up reliable scoring on the wire.
- Joe Johnson is old as fuck, and his averages have been slipping steadily over the past few season. He’s not the same player he was, obviously; and he’s not the only player who fits this description. Don’t let a flashy name deter you from solid value.
- Brewer is playing 32 minutes thus far, the last time he averaged 30+ mpg was 2009 when he posted: 43%fg, 65%ft, 1.0 3ptm, 13pts, 2.4asts, 3.4rbds, 1.4stls, 0.4blks, 2to. Gee, those numbers look familiar (see: 2013).
- Brewer is a career 42% shooter. Perhaps his efficiency normalizes back down to this level, but it’s not insane to think that an NBA vet who has improved his all around game is now a more efficient scorer.
- Brewer doesn’t hurt you in any categories.
I almost compared Brewer to Moe Harkless here, because their games are somewhat similar and they’re both owned in 44% of yahoo leagues. As a Magic fan I suppose I’m biased towards Harkless who absolutely has more upside than Corey Brewer in reality. But as far as 9 category fantasy value goes, Brewer smokes Moe on the margin 6-3. I wouldn’t say he’s a high upside guy, but Brewer is certainly undervalued. In fact, Brewer smokes nearly everyone on the waiver wire in my league; among available players he’s 2nd in scoring and 2nd in steals. Money in the bank.
The biggest concern for Brewer right now is the pending return of Chase Budinger from knee surgery. But you don’t need a doctor to know what can happen to players with knee problems (R.I.P. Brandon Roy).
stats courtesy of: yahoo! sports
featured picture courtesy of: Junior Skepple via http://bleacherreport.com/users/618263-junior-skepple