Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made headlines this week by saying he would consider picking Baylor women's star Brittney Griner in the NBA Draft. "If she is the best on the board, I will take her," Cuban said to ESPN last night, before the Mavericks' game with the Lakers.
Cuban, who has appeared on both Dancing With the Stars and Shark Tank, is no stranger to saying things to generate publicity. But is there something to his statement that Griner could play in the NBA?
Let's look at her career stats, via ESPN:
3,283 points (second highest in Women's NCAA Division I History)
748 blocks (most in men's or women's college basketball)
18 dunks (three more than all other female players combined)
Not bad at all. At 6-foot-8, she would be about an inch taller than the average NBA player. The problem is that she only weighs 207 pounds. When matched against other forwards like "Zach Randolph, Paul Millsap or Brandon Bass," she "would be physically outmatched when trying her patented set shot, while quite defenseless when one of those guys decided to use a quick spin or power move to the inside," says Ethan Grant of Bleacher Report.
Still, with her good mid-range game and excellent defensive timing, is it possible she could make a positive contribution to an NBA team? It certainly wouldn't hurt to try, particularly for the woeful Mavericks, tweets ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon:
What's downside of giving Brittney Griner a summer league shot? Vegas Mavs might get outrebounded by 20? Not like playoff spot at stake.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) April 3, 2013
However, that would mean giving up on the WNBA, where she would almost certainly be picked first in the draft by the Phoenix Mercury. That rubs Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo the wrong way: "She's not a gimmick to be gawked at and over-scrutinized by the collection of NBA executives and bored NBA freaks who watch the Summer League every year."
In other words, why fight for the last spot on an NBA team when she could inspire female athletes as a superstar in the WNBA? Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel puts it best: "She's revolutionized the women's game. Isn't that enough of an achievement?"