Hubie Brown Interview
Hubie Brown Opening Statement: Weíve played four exhibition games, two here in Memphis where we were able to defeat Milwaukee and Washington last night, then two games in Europe. We lost to San Antonio in Paris by 12 and then went down and played FC Barcelona, who had won the Spanish League, the Euro League, which is 24 teams in five countries, and then they won the European Championship. They have a very good team, but we were fortunate to win there. So, currently we are 3-1, but as we all know it is exhibition time. You are playing all 15 guys and also what you are trying to do is learn from the playoff teams. Weíve only played one playoff team so far, and thatís San Antonio.
Q: What kind of impact to you think LeBron James will have and how long do you think it takes high school players to acclimate to the NBA?
Brown: First of all, he is going to be a major impact story. In every city that they go in I would be surprised if they did not sell out. The basketball world would love to see him in this type of a setting. I think as far as the players themselves coming from the high school level, how fast do they adjust? I think that comes down to how many minutes they get. How many minutes, how many shot attempts and whether they are going to be a focal point. I think some of the previous high school players were force-fed into the situation and never received minutes until after the All-Star break. But in this case, LeBron James is fortunate that he will get major minutes right from Day 1 and then establish some kind of continuity for his career.
Q: Talk about Pau Gasol.
Brown: You always have to start out with the fact that he is only 23. Last year for us, in the 74 games, he averaged right at 19 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and was in the top five in field goal percentage. That was excellent. This year, he has added between 10, 12 pounds. He had an excellent summer leading his team to the finals of the European qualifying for the Olympics. Obviously, heís our main guy and our main focal point. Heís extremely bright, articulate. At seven-foot handles the ball extremely well. Where the growth has got to come is in the physical aspect. I think that he is on his because he put in the time this summer.
Q: How has coaching changed?
Brown: Well, Iím sorry to say that we havenít changed our approach to the practices or our approach to how we coach the game. Iím very serious about it and I think you can ask anyone who has seen our practices or open camp. Weíre all about teaching and this is a young team so nothing has changed in that respect. As far as the monies, I donít allow myself to get involved in that. That is strictly Jerry West and how they are putting things together. I think what has changed is the travel. The travel has made it much easier today versus the í70s and í80s where everything was commercial, your own bags and all that other kind of stuff. Now, my point has always been as a clinician, the reason why you have low shooting percentages today is because of the incredible defenses and the defenses are enhanced because of the fax machine, computers, videos. Now you have playoff competition and playoff defense in the regular season. Then at playoff time it takes an extra step because you have the day between games. We only had that type of preparation in the í70s and í80s when you got to the playoffs.
Q: Were you surprised by all the coaching changes?
Brown: Fan anticipation and the pressure of getting it done today and then even though you win 50 games and a division championship, itís not enough. You were eliminated early in the playoffs or you did not meet the expectations. You might have met it for the city, but you are not meeting it for the corporate people up above. Unfortunately, there were a couple of shocking changes this year. What does that do for the coaching union? It makes you nervous, because who is really safe? The only guys who are really safe are maybe if you are making large numbers and you still have multiple years. What was proven this year is you might be making large numbers, but if you only have one year left they can buy you out.