Philadelphia 76ers: Corey Brewer is as Philadelphia as the Liberty Bell

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

After capturing the hearts of fans across the 215 in 10 short days, the Philadelphia 76ers need to give Corey Brewer a new NBA jawn (contract).

How crazy is it to think that Corey Brewer spent the first half of the 2018-19 NBA season unemployed; playing with his kid at home waiting for his phone to ring?

After receiving mild interest from his former club, the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency, Brewer failed to receive a training camp invite and remained unemployed until the Philadelphia 76ers locked him into a 10-day contract in hopes of padding out their depth chart over a make-or-break 12 game stretch.

Since then, Brewer has captured the hearts of Philly fans in a way rarely seen by a player in his position and lead his new squad to a 3-0 record when on the court.

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Brewer is the textbook definition of a glue guy; a player who does his role and does it well, without fretting over the small stuff. He isn’t going to complain to the media about (a lack of) touches, or say that he’s taking the incorrect number of 3-point shots a game; no, Brewer is just happy to be here and his teammates appear happy to have him too.

However, Brewer’s emergence as a legitimate rotational piece has created a bit of a conundrum for the Sixers’ front.

Sure, the team just signed the 6-foot-9 guard/forward from Florida to a second 10-day contract, but after that, what does the future look hold for Brewer?

Initially viewed as a stopgap before free agency ramps up, and the subsequent buyout market takes shape, Brewer has had an impact few expected when he initially signed on the dotted line.

Though many, myself included, assumed that the Sixers signed Brewer to keep their options open moving forward, it’s hard to imagine finding a similar player who fits so well with team’s style of play, especially one that doesn’t require a future first-round pick to acquire.

Sure, there will potentially be plenty of intriguing players in the buyout market next month, like Robin Lopez, Jeremy Lin, and maybe even Enes Kanter, but one could nary imagine a player that more perfectly fits with what the team is trying to do better than Brewer.

And if you think other teams haven’t taken note, you’re kidding yourself.

All three of the games Brewer has appeared in so far over his Sixers stay have been against teams very much in the playoff hunt, many of whom would love to add a scheme-flexible wingman capable of playing hard-nosed D, creating turnovers, and knocking down open shots from outside the arc.

If the Sixers hesitate and allow Brewer to hit the open market so to speak, his services will be in high demand and he may the sign with another team over waiting to see how the trade deadline shakes out for Philly.

There’s a well-worn adage in sports that states that ‘a player has to make the most of an opportunity when their number is called’, and Brewer’s double zeros have been coming up money every time he touches the court. He’s become indispensable; a calming presence in the locker room who fits Brett Brown‘s desired perimeter defender role to a T.

He’s been far more productive than Justin Holiday, the player Memphis give up two second-round picks to acquire, and far more effective than either Trevor Ariza or Kelly Oubre, a pair of forwards who were swapped earlier in the month and really haven’t helped to turn on either squad’s favors all that much with their lackluster production.

After being an afterthought for the back half of 2018, Brewer is now presumably the number one target on any team worth their salt’s mid-season acquisition board and could receive as many as a half-dozen offers from contending teams to join up for a postseason campaign.

Elton Brand can’t let that happen.

For how enticing it may be put the chips on the table and trade this year’s first-round pick for a player who could help the team now, retaining Brewer has to be considered a priority, as he’s proven himself to be an invaluable part of a squad that used to struggle to even put on a competitive face in the game where one of their three stars was unable to play.

Over the last two games, Sixers have remained competitive even without their ‘closer’ Jimmy Butler and a lot of that has to do with Brewer’s tireless motor and high basketball IQ.

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Whether stealing a pass by Kenneth Faried, posterizing a lowly Spur on a chase down block, or guarding James Harden while he was laying on the court, Corey Brewer is the personification of Philly’s blue-collar, hard-working attitude, and much like the grease in a proper cheesesteak, he’s become a vital cog in the Philadelphia 76ers winning formula.