Sunday, April 04, 2010

My case for Brittney Griner as an NBA player

(Full disclosure #1. I graduated from Baylor.
Full disclosure #2. I don't follow women's college basketball.
Full disclosure #3. I don't follow men's college basketball.)

But I DO follow the NBA pretty heavily (at least until Lebron becomes a Knick) and so I offer the following as a thought experiment: Could Brittney Griner play in the NBA?

A couple months ago NBA commissioner David Stern said that within 10 years a woman could play in the NBA and a lot of people laughed at him. Or at least looked at him cock-eyed, myself included. But now that's all changed with Brittney Griner. Once simply a youtube sensation as "the girl that dunks," Griner is now a 6-8 force who crushed the NCAA Women's tourney record for blocks, and is now simply padding that record.

Jason Whitlock had a surprisingly (for him) good article on Griner giving anecdotal evidence of her strength and toughness, always the first two knocks against the potential for a female athlete playing in a professional male-dominated sports league.

But lest you think this is simply a high-minded, liberal agenda, affirmative action oriented gesture toward equality, let me remind you of a few things.

The NBA currently features,
  • a 6-6 starting center (Houston's Chuck Hayes) who is effective,
  • a #2 overall draft pick who was demoted to the development league (for those who don't know what that is, think a step below the Harlem Globetrotters),
  • the #5 pick of the 2009 averaging 6.5 points a game and shooting 36%
  • Darko Milicic pulling down 35+ minutes a night,
  • the team with the best record drafting a foreign player who's currently averaging about 4 points a game.
  • Rasheed Wallace.

You're telling me that these drecks can garner NBA contracts but a 6-8 athletic beast who can block shots couldn't become at the very least an effective bench player (Brittney Griner for the 6th Man Award?)? Why wouldn't a forward thinking team drop a late draft pick on Griner and let her try her hand in the D-league?

Oh by the way, Griner is only 19 and didn't even start playing basketball until 5 years ago.

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