MANKATO — The first time that Corey Brewer was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team wasn't very good, and he admits that he was part of the reason.
But now that he's back, having learned a lot from playing with two other organizations, he sees a different attitude and talent level on the roster.
"It's all about winning now," Brewer said after the Timberwolves' first training camp practice at Minnesota State's Bresnan Arena on Tuesday. "Before, it was about rebuilding after (Kevin Garnett). Everything was about the future, not so much winning."
Brewer, a slender 6-foot-9 wing, in his seventh year, was drafted by the Timberwolves with the seventh pick of the 2007 draft. He gradually improved his game, though he struggled in a slow-down, halfcourt style.
"In college, we didn't play that way," Brewer said. "Pound it inside ... that's not my game."
He started all 82 games in 2009-10, averaging 13.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in abut 30 minutes per game. The next season, his numbers dropped off, and he was traded to Dallas late in the season.
Playing on a more veteran team, he realized that he didn't have to force himself to play a different style. The Mavericks played more up-tempo basketball, and the next season in Denver, he was more comfortable with the pace.
"That's the way I play," he said.
As a free agent, he was happy that the Timberwolves contacted him. With a different coach and general manager in place and a far more talented roster, he was eage to rejoin his former team.
"I never thought I'd be back," he said. "But I'm happy to be back. I love it here."
Brewer is still a defense-first player, usually assigned to the opponents' top wing player. He still relishes the matchup against Kobe Bryant or Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant.
"I take a lot of pride in defense," Brewer said. "Every night, I want the tough assignment."
Wolves coach Rick Adelman, who was in Portland when Brewer was a young player, said he's liked everything he's seen so far.
"He's a great example of a guy who plays to his strengths," Adelman said. "That's what you need in this league. He's going to be a good addition to this team."
Brewer finished practice with other wing players, launching 3-pointer after 3-pointer. In the final period, he made 7 of 10 from the corner, showing a strength with what used to be a weakness.
"The only place I coudn't shoot was here," he said. "When you just throw it inside on every possession, you kind of forget how to play the game."