By Bill Simmons
Page 2 columnist

You might remember my NBA Preview just two weeks ago, when I broke into my well-worn Hubie Brown impersonation for the section about the Grizzlies. Here's what I wrote:


Blast from the past: Hubie Brown, shown here coaching the Hawks in 1978, will be returning to the bench.

"OK, you're Jerry West. You have Drew Gooden, who plays hard every night, crashes the boards, and does all the Little Things that helps your team win. You have Shane Battier and Michael Dickerson, who also love ... doing ... the Little Things. Then you have two athletic bodies with upside, Lorenzen Wright and Stromile Swift. You have Wesley Person and Gordon Giricek shooting 3s. You have Jason Williams pushing the ball and creating scoring opportunities. And you have a premier offensive player in Pau Gasol, who commands double-teams. Now you're getting easy points, you're getting 3s, you're wearing out other teams, and you have a genuine offensive option at the end of games. You're also not as bad as you were defensively last year. And you have a fan base that wants to win. Everywhere you look, you see upside, nothing but upside."

Of course, I left out one section ... you know, the part when Hubie announces that he'll take over the team if all else fails.

Good God! Hubie Brown is coming back to the NBA! I always thought that the Clippers should have their own "The Season" show, but this is taking it to another level: Hubie Brown, Memphis coach. Can we start the cameras rolling now? I want to see every practice, every instruction, every timeout huddle ... give us Hubie 24/7!

Since I didn't have time to write a full column -- and, to be honest, I'm not sure I'm emotionally ready to write a column yet -- I'm turning it over to the readers:

***** ***** *****

C'mon Bill, I know you're in the process of moving, but Lord have mercy ... you couldn't stop the U-Haul to two-way page someone an article about Hubie Brown going to coach the Grizzlies?

"So you've got a guy as your point guard who has tons of talent, great upside, no brains in his head. His claim to fame is that he grew up getting in trouble with Randy Moss, and you've gotta put him out on the floor with a Spanish kid with tons of upside who can't figure out what the heck this guy is doing ..."

Show us some love ...
A. Steinberg
New York


Can we have you breaking down every Hubie Brown press conference on ESPN6?
Varun Sriram


Hubie Brown
Hubie hasn't coached since the Knicks of '86 ... but taking time off has a tremendous upside.

Bill, you're a writer so you probably have a pretty good grasp on the all the fundamentals. So, with that in mind, when Hubie Brown is analyzing his hiring by the Grizzlies, what tense is he talking in?

You're Hubie Brown. You've just been hired by the Memphis Grizzlies. You feel that you have a squad full of players with tremendous upside. You know that you should be excited about this upside, however you also know that you had better produce improvement now or you'll be packing your bags...

He's Hubie Brown referring to himself as "you," but how can he refer to himself as you and not I? My head is now spinning.
Wes Mossholder
Baton Rouge, La.


OK, so you're Hubie Brown and you've just taken a job working for Logo Man so you like the boss situation. You have two young forwards in Gooden & Gasol so you like the front line. You know Battier is a pro's pro so you're good at the 2. Now if you and the Logo can find a point guard, you know that you can compete in the rugged West. Oh, and you can't forget that you have the raw talent of Stromile Swift so you also like that.
Dan Cary
Milwaukee


I just heard Hubie Brown is gonna coach the Grizzlies, so now once and for all his coaching acceptance speech:

"Hubie dealt with Chuck and Kenny OK on those TNT telecasts, so Hubie thinks Hubie will be able to handle Memphis. Memphis is a team with unbeeeeeelivable upside -- Gasol and Battier. Hubie thinks they will be the Smits and Miller of this generation. Hubie is excited with all of the upside this team has. Unbelievable upside. Graceland has upside. Hubie is going to sign Jerry Lawler to commentate since he is from Memphis, and offers the added upside of a chairshot to prevent a potential game-winning shot."
Zeke Wolf


Hubie Brown is the new head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. I for one cannot believe this is happening. Can you imagine the halftime interviews? The Unintentional Comedy Scale can't possibly handle this.
Steve Peterson
New York


I just heard Hubie Brown is taking over the Grizzlies, which now immediately lends itself to a tremendous amount of "upside" jokes. How have you hooked yourself up with Team Stern to make this happen? After moving out West to write for TV and every guy's favorite guy, Jimmy Kimmel, Team Stern does this to help make sure you still have columns to write.

I know you're a true Celtics fan, I know the Clips are a team you enjoy watching, but now, with the young, talented Grizzlies, with Pau, Shane, Drew and "White Chocolate," and throw in Hubie Brown, come on, they have tremendous upside!!!!!! The only thing left for you to do is buy a lottery ticket. I mean it, stop reading my rambling e-mail and go buy a lottery ticket. You fortunes can't improve much more right now. GO!!!
Mitch Sadowsky
San Bernardino, Calif.


I can just see it now... Hubie will be asked how he thinks Jason Williams will perform. "I saw him in college, and this kid has tremendous upside."

Sideline reporter, "Hubie, you're down 50 at the half to the Lakers ... how do you think you'll do in the second half." Hubie, "We have tremendous upside, Drew Gooden will turn into Karl Malone, Pau Gasol into Nowitzki, Jason Williams into J-Kidd, Stromile Swift into the next Webber, Battier into Grant Hill, Giricek into Drazen Petrovic, Wright into Shaq, and Dickerson into T-Mac in the second half."
Nilay Shroff
Bloomfield, N.J.


Does the UCR scale go past 100? Hubie Brown, new coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. I hear he has tremendous upside...
Brian Johnston
Memphis


Jerry West
Jerry West hopes Hubie's appearance will spark an upside at the turnstiles.

What the hell is going on with Hubie Brown coaching my beloved Grizzlies? Are you kidding me? Especially after your prescient NBA preview, bordering on the supernatural. Do you think Hubie and/or Jerry West read that and thought, hey, that sounds like a good idea, Hubie thinks a lot of the Grizz, according to Simmons? I mean it's otherwise totally astonishing and inexplicable.
Andrew Collins
Little Rock


Sports Guy, I was wondering if you thought Hubie Brown's hiring by the Grizzlies had any upside???
Steve
Manhasset, N.Y.


Jerry West was quoted as saying, "I hear this Hubie Brown has tremendous upside. He'll be able to coordinate his upside with the upside of our team which will result in tremendous upside at the ticket booth. The city of Memphis is ready for some upside."
Danny Collins


Can I get an over/under on how many times Hubie Brown makes an "upside" comment this year for Memphis?
Jacob D.
Arlington, Va.


Hubie Brown is going to coach again in the NBA? Are we serious with this? Talk about a moment that should be televised, how about Hubie's first meeting with Jason Williams. As the great one would say: "What we do have ... is a point guard ... (said quickly) who can smoke a lot of weed ... spout off some racial slurs and, here's the key, break down a defense with the shot clock running down. So this is a combo ... with a lot of potential and that magical term we call upside."
Dave Goldstein
Toronto


I thought it was something that you would try to arrange on ESPN6, a modern-day ancient Hubie Brown coaching today's kids. This is one of the greatest things to happen to my circle of basketball friends in years. Well, since Bill Cartwright, but I'm a die-hard Bulls fan, so before that, you had to go way back. Probably to when Hubie was last coaching.

The jokes are endless, Sports Guy. I understand you are a busy guy, but you should write a shorter-length article each week/every other week documenting this process. Now, instead of simply acknowledging potential, he's going to have to coach it. I'm so happy. They better still let him do the draft, somehow. Now I'm sad.
Dan Adsit
Clearwater, Fla.


Jason Williams
"Hey, I can respect a coach old enough to know the truth about herb in the '60s."

OK, you're Hubie Brown. You're so old that you can't even complete a sentence and you've just been named coach of an 0-8 basketball team. Your point guard burns way too much herb, and your small forward is the biggest square since Bill Gates. Needless to say, you have huge upside.
Sean Slattery
San Diego


Please ... you have to write a column about the Grizz hiring Hubie Brown!!! Think about it, as I'm sure you already have ... there is too much upside to not do it. Hubie Brown walking into practice with "White Chocolate," Swift, Battier, Gasol, etc. Good Lord, how much would you pay to be a fly on the wall there?
Patrick M.
Fredericksburg, Va.


You're Hubie Brown ... You've been sitting on the sidelines for the last 15 years. . . You know that you were one of the most volatile and profane men ever to coach in the NBA ... You are given the opportunity to coach a team that has a point guard who could drive Carrie Nation to drink ... On the other hand, you have Drew Gooden and Pau Gasol, who have unlimited upside. And you have Shane Battier, who is the ultimate good soldier. So what do you do ... You take the job.

If Hubie Brown is not run out of Memphis for corrupting the minds (and ears) of young Grizzly fans, he is the No. 1 candidate for a heart attack in the NBA. Seriously, if you were in MSG in the early '80s, you would have seen a man who was thisclose to a nervous breakdown from the mid-first period at least 25 games a season.
Mitchell Epner
N.Y.


Now that Hubie Brown has been named the new Memphis coach, do you think he'll instruct in the first person? "Now I'm Jason Williams. I'm running a 3-on-1 fast break, suddenly I see Drew Gooden out of the corner of my eye..."
Erik
Oakland, Calif.


Only days after you release your UCR scale, the Memphis Grizzlies destroy it. Is hiring Hubie Brown one of the best moves in NBA history? Think of the upside, coupled with the upside of ROY Pau Gasol, runner up Shane Battier, and this years potential ROY, Drew Gooden? This has to rank damn near the top of the scale, doesn't it? Or maybe it doesn't rank at all... a move like this must be intentional comedy. I can pretty much assume that this column is writing itself.
Patrick
Dallas


OK, You're Hubie Brown. Your 157-years-old. Jerry West has just asked you to coach a young team with potential. You've got Jason Williams (potential troublemaker), Pau Gasol, Stromile Swift, Shane Battier, and Drew Gooden. You've got the Sports Guy moving to L.A., so he doesn't wail on you every day anyone. Why do you take this project of a team on?
Tom Pelligrino
Cincinnati


I've got to know how you decided upon using Hubie Brown for the Grizzlies in your West preview. It's downright scary. First, the Celtics ownership theory, now Hubie's the Memphis coach? What's next??? You should consider a subscription based newsletter, you'd make millions.
J. Potter


Me: "The addition of Hubie Brown to the Grizzlies organization has unlimited upside."

John Thompson: "Very unlimited."
Brad Skelton
Athens, Ga.




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