“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said before the Mavs’ Tuesday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about it already. Would I do it? Right now, I’d lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it. You never know unless you give somebody a chance, and it’s not like the likelihood of any late-50s draft pick has a good chance of making it.”
“She’d still have to make the team,” Cuban said. “I’m not going to carry her just to carry her. I don’t think, anyways. But I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to giving her the opportunity.”
Many people’s initial reaction to these quotes are, “Are you kidding me Cuban? She’s a girl. No way she could compete in the NBA.”
While I see these arguments as valid, I have to disagree. I actually think Brittney Griner could be a valuable member of a struggling NBA franchise.
Before you guys tweet or email me death threats, let me explain myself.
I don’t think Griner will ever make a huge impact on the court, but off the court, her impact could be monumental. Let’s start with her on the court ability though.
Griner has dominated women’s college basketball for four straight years now. I understand that this is women’s college basketball, and that she is 6’8” and most other centers are only 6’4”, but numbers don’t lie. Griner is the NCAA all time leader in shots blocked. She blocked 736 shots in four years at Baylor. Griner is a four-time All American. She was second team All American as a freshman, and first team All American the next three years (this year’s All Americans haven’t been announced yet, but she will 100% be one). Here are Griner’s career stat lines for college.
Griner has also developed a decent array of post moves. She has hook shots, up and under moves, fade away jumpers, and most importantly, a very high release point on her jumper. This high release will make it very difficult for her opponents to block her shots. Griner has NBA size. Not elite size, but NBA size. There are multiple power forwards in the league that are 6’8”. Chuck Hayes was considered a center in the NBA and he was only 6’6″. Let’s play a game. Guess who has a longer wingspan, Andrew Bynum or Brittney Griner? If you guessed Griner, you’d be correct. Griner has a 7’3” wingspan, something that not many NBA players can say they have.
These numbers and skills come with an asterisk because of the competition she played against, but there is no denying that Griner has at least some basketball talent.
My final reason, and also the BIGGEST reason why I think Griner has NBA value, is that the second she signs with an NBA team, ticket sales will go through the roof. She will be the Tim Tebow of the NBA: a player who really isn’t that great that gets way to much media attention. A player that fans from every team wants, just so they can see exactly what they can do. Tebow was in the game for less than 100 snaps on offense last season. The Jets barely used him, yet his jersey was still atop the jersey sales list and fans came out to see the Jets play in hopes that Tebowmania could start over again. If any team drafts Griner, I’m telling you that her jerseys would fly off the shelves, celebrities would get behind her, support her, and every arena her team went to would be sold out.
For a team that has trouble selling tickets, like the Bobcats or the Magic, why not take a risk on her? It would send ticket and merchandise sales up through the roof. ESPN would cover every practice they ever had (whether or not you think that’s a good thing is up to you).
All I’m saying is that in reality, Griner could be better for an organization than a typical 12th man, or should I say woman, on an NBA roster. Look at the guys on the end of the bench for some of the worst teams in the league. You’re really going to tell me that they’re huge value upgrades over Griner? No.
So why not take the chance? Most NBA draft picks between 55-60 don’t actually make NBA rosters anyway. Worst case is that you cut her after a year and goes to the WNBA and dominates. The best case scenario is that she comes in, the teams sales go through the roof, she averages 2 points, 2 rebounds, and a block per game, and becomes a media icon. Hey, that’s practically what Tebow does for the Jets.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mlukes14
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