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InsideHoops NBA [HOME] Dec. 4, 2003

Hubie Brown Interview




Wednesday night in the Continental Airlines Arena the New Jersey Nets hosted the Memphis Grizzlies. Playing without point guard Jason Williams, Memphis pulled off the road win. Just two hours before the game began it was announced that a trade has occurred, sending Wesley Person away and bringing Bonzi Wells to the Grizzlies (naturally he was not yet with the team this night). After the game, and a few other media members interviewed Hubie Brown, the coaching legend who currently heads the Grizzlies. Although parts of this interview are specific just to this game, the rest is about the Grizzlies in general, and the loss of Wesley Person and addition of Bonzi Wells.

Question: Are you surprised how sloppy the Nets got at the end of this game?

Hubie Brown: That's for their coach to say. I look at that and say, you know what, we played pretty good defense. You're looking at us like, that we're not a good team. I mean, we beat San Antonio, L.A. and Dallas. So, don't undersell, we're not that bad. We do play pretty good defense. And I thought that going from man and into the zone, that allowed us to do that. And when we had two key guys foul out, the two guys who came in made great defensive plays. I think we had a little bit to do with that, of them turning the ball over. Now, what did I like? We only turned it over 10 times tonight and we didn't have Jason Williams in the game. The guy has got over four assists for every turnover. He's right back on schedule where he was a year ago. So, he's missed these three games, but (Earl) Watson and (Mike) Miller have done a great job for us on the point, great job.

Question: How much did you miss Jason (Williams) down the stretch tonight?

Hubie Brown: Yeah, well, Jason is so difficult to play down the stretch because of his quickness. You shoot and miss, we get the ball to Jason, there are very few guys quicker than Jason from circle to circle. And then you got to play Jason, because you have to go back to last year. In the last three minutes of games, Jason shot the highest percentage in the league in threes. So when you got a guy that quick in the open floor, you not only got to play him for his quickness, you got to play him for the three. So, he's coming on, and I feel badly for him, because he was really playing great before he got that injury. He's missed three games. You got to understand the numbers the kid is putting up. He's putting up some great numbers. But we're happy with Watson, and moving Miller over. Because Miller's never played the point before this trip. He had 13 assists in Cleveland, he had 10 in Boston, tonight he had seven. He does a good job. He's never ran the team before. So, we're very happy with that.

Question: Talk about how you're doing on the road, how you feel about the performances.

Hubie Brown: We're 6-5 on the road. We played like this at Houston. And beat Houston in Houston. And that was a big road win for us. We had a good road win in Seattle, and a good road win in Orlando, and Cleveland and Boston, and here. What's happening is that we're finally getting the right plays for the right guys, to run the clock and make something happen. Because we have new people, Miller's with us now full time, (James) Posey is the new guy at small forward, so we're trying, because it's only our 17th game. This was our 11th road game. We've only played six home games. We've been to the West coast twice. Three-game sets. So, we're proud of these guys, because we're still the fourth youngest team. People want to talk about us, but we're the fourth youngest team. We're happy with how we're growing, because we have a lot of great kids in here. They have a lot of character, and more important, they like each other, so they play hard. Your point is great. So, when you're 6-5 on the road at this time of the year, you're pretty happy about that. With us, it's got to be that we have to continue to grow as we march through the season.

Question: How do you see Bonzi Wells fitting into the team?

Hubie Brown: First of all, Bonzi Wells is coming with a ton of talent. Bonzi Wells is mine now. If you're been around the NBA, you have to double-team him in the post, from endline to endline one of best athletes in the league. He's a slasher off the dribble, which we only have a couple of guys who can dribble here, if you've noticed that, OK? That's like a secret, you know? So, consequently, he is going to give us an offensive force to add; more important, he's a physical defender, so with Posey and Battier at the small forward, and now we have another physical guy at the two-guard, that helps us improve our defense. We don't pretend to be a great defensive team. You know, we try to fool you, and gimmick the game a little bit. But this guy will add an excellent defender. Why? Because he's always in the top ten in steals. Because he's such a good athlete. But, when Jason comes back, now we add another guy who can really run. So, we went from a 32-year-old to a 27-year old, a better athlete. Now the guy who left us is a great professional. One of the finest players I've ever been around as a professional coach. He will help them, because of his great three-point shooting. Why? Because of (Zach) Randolph and (Rasheed) Wallace. You've got to double-team them. So, they've been spotty in three-point shooting. Wes will definitely help them big-time. So, it's a good trade for both teams.

Question: How long have negotiations with Bonzi going on?

Hubie Brown: Look, they've been calling everybody for weeks. They've been involved with a lot of teams. The other day it came out of Portland saying they've talked to 12 teams. I'm not involved in any of that. All of that is Jerry West. So, that's the guy that you should call about that. Today, they called us in the middle of the afternoon and said the trade was going to be made. And they would announce it at 5 o'clock. See, when you're a coach, you got to worry about a lot of things. When you bring a great player to your team, that's going to affect at least three of my guys. See, because they're young, and this guy's coming in with a lot of talent. That's number one. Number two, the guy we just traded, the guy who is coming is single. It's December. Wes Person is leaving, a real pro, five children. Got it? Santa's coming, you know that, right? It's going to be a very tough time for Wes Person and his family. And we all feel for Wes because he's such a pro. And since I've been here, in thirteen months, I talk to Wes a lot. I bounce a lot of stuff off Wes, because he's been on good teams. So, I always get the tempo; he's one guy I confide in. I'll miss Wes. Now, we're all going to miss his family, because he's a wonderful family man.

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