Grizzlies have won Hubie's way

Updated: April 6, 2004, 12:58 PM ET
By Dr. Jack Ramsay | Special to ESPN.com

Hubie Brown
Hubie Brown isn't out of touch with today's NBA generation after all.
In an NBA season that has witnessed some exceptional coaching jobs, the leading candidates for Coach of the Year are Hubie Brown of the Memphis Grizzlies and Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz.

I lean toward Hubie because he has turned Memphis completely around in a way that is characteristic of his coaching style. He's a basic, fundamental coach and a strict disciplinarian. His players all know their roles on the team and he gets them to accept his unique system (both offensively and defensively). His rotation of players is also unique.

To get NBA players to accept all these modes of coaching -- which are uncommon in the NBA -- and to have it turn out so well is remarkable.

More than any other player, Jason Williams has benefited from Hubie's presence. Williams has had a variety of coaches -- including some highly successful leaders -- but none was able to have a positive impact on his game ... until Hubie came along this season.

Hubie has turned Williams' game 180 degrees. Now, Williams is one of the NBA's best point guards. Before this season, he was an accident waiting to happen.

The transformation of Williams is one of Hubie's greatest accomplishments. And he's had many.

When Grizzlies president Jerry West hired Hubie, there were plenty of naysayers. They said Hubie was too old. They said he would be out of touch with this generation of NBA players. They said he was too tough. They said he'd been away from the game and in the broadcast booth too long.

But I never had a doubt that he was exactly what the Grizzlies needed. Just look at the results. They've gone from NBA oblivion to being a 50-win playoff team (right now they're 49-28). Clearly, Hubie Brown has had a Coach of the Year season.

Dr. Jack Ramsay, an NBA analyst for ESPN, coached the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship. A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Click here to send a question for Dr. Jack for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Legendary coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay served as lead game analyst for The NBA on ESPN Radio. He also contributed to ESPN.com and ESPN The Mag.

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