Someday a woman will play in the NBA, but it won't be Brittney Griner

Someday a woman will play in the NBA, but it won't be Brittney Griner
April 5, 2013, 10:30 am
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Make no mistake, Brittney Griner is the most dominant player in woman's basketball, perhaps the best female player ever.

But that doesn't mean she has the best chance to play in the NBA. Not that anybody really thinks she could. Yes, Mark Cuban, ever the marketing genius as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has threatened to select her in the second round of the upcoming college draft:

"Would I do it? Right now, I'd lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it," he told ESPN Dallas. "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."

The real problem for Griner is the position she's always played. She's a 6-8 center, which makes her a dominant player in the woman's game. But she also weighs just 207 pounds and isn't the quickest player on the floor. And that's her problem. Everyone talks about how athletic players must be to make it in the NBA and the real inside story about that is the taller they are, the more freaky the athleticism. In the NBA, the 6-11 forwards and seven-foot centers can run and jump and move side-to-side almost as quickly as smaller players in college basketball. And they are freaky strong people who know how to use their speed and power to dislodge smaller, lighter and weaker players.

And at 6-8, she'd have to play on the wing. Somehow I can't see her running the floor with Nic Batum. Sorry, Brittney, but that's why you have NO chance.

When a woman finally does make an NBA team -- and it's when and not if -- she's probably going to be six feet tall or even shorter. And lightning quick with great ability to handle the ball and shoot. On the perimeter she'd be able to compete by using her size and quickness to an advantage over bigger players. As my friend Blazer broadcaster Antonio Harvey says, the smaller players adapt much quicker to the NBA because they're accustomed to being the smallest people on the court and already know the tricks of playing against larger people. Their adjustments are much less than bigger players. Ann Meyers knows something about that:

"If a woman plays in the NBA, it would have to be a guard, someone who plays on the perimeter," Ann Meyers, who tried out for the Indiana Pacers in 1976, told "It is a very physical game on the inside."

Perhaps it would be best to sum this whole situation up with the words of one of the most successful women's coaches in the world:

"I think it would be a sham," UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma said of Cuban's remarks. "The fact that a woman could actually play right now in the NBA and compete successfully against the level of play that they have is absolutely ludicrous."