Anytime you get a player for practically nothing, you already have the upper hand. But when you get two players that not only help out but start to carry your team it is an absolute steal.
Back in December, many believed that getting Rudy Fernandez from the Dallas Mavericks for just a second round pick was huge for the Nuggets, overlooking that Denver also acquired Corey Brewer – a former seventh round draft pick, who won two national titles with the Florida Gators.
Fernandez has been everything he was cracked up to be. A sharpshooter, who can facilitate the offense and offer electrifying plays to spark the Pepsi Center. After struggling with his jump shot early, Fernandez has been on a roll as of late. He is averaging 10 points, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals, while shooting .50 percent from the field over the span of his last five games.
He hasn’t really replaced the scoring that former Nuggets’ guard J.R. Smith provided, but he has helped in many other ways. Getting his teammates going, playing smart defense, igniting fast breaks and hitting timely jumpers.
While Fernandez came to Denver with a spot in the rotation, Brewer has had to work and be patient to find minutes. He has missed three games due to coach’s decision and only played garbage minutes over the first five games. However, lately he has been forcing Karl’s hands into giving him minutes.
Everybody knows that Brewer can be a lockdown the defender, and quite possibly be the Nuggets best perimeter defender and most versatile as well. He also may be one of the quickest players on the squad and is scary in the fast break.
His long and athletic 6-foot-9 frame helps him both on defense and in the fast break. The only downside to Brewer’s game has been his errant jump shot, but through 11 games Brewer has been shooting .548 from the field and has hit 5 of 7 treys – including all three of his 3-pointers in Wednesday’s win over the New Jersey Nets.
It might not be out of the question that Brewer is having his best season of his career. His first four years in the NBA were in turmoil. He played for four different coaches in four years, suffered season-ending injury one season and played for two teams in another. And during his time with the Mavericks, he only played 13 games and five games in the playoffs.
Brewer got his first big break in the Nuggets win against the Milwaukee Bucks. He scored five points in his first minute, hit a trey in the fourth and blocked two shots. Brewer also offered the Nuggets a spark in the loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He went 5 of 6 from the field and the Nuggets were +12 when he was the floor.
And against the hot-shooting Nets, Brewer scored 17 points in the second quarter and came up with a key block on MarShon Brooks in the fourth quarter to end New Jersey’s run.
The good news for the Nuggets is Brewer is signed for one more year at $3.2 million, however, Fernandez is a restricted free agent. There is no doubt the Nuggets would like to bring him back, especially after the way he has played so far this season – but if he is really anxious about returning to Spain or wanting more money Denver may just let him walk especially with their depth. They still don’t know what rookie Jordan Hamilton provides and there is talks that Wilson Chandler may want to return to Denver and sign an extension.