Mark Cuban has made waves again by saying he would consider drafting women’s college basketball player Brittney Griner (via ESPN.com). While the idea of a female NBA player may not be as far-fetched as many believe, drafting Griner may actually be terrible for women’s basketball.
Griner is tall (6-foot-8), extremely talented, and she might be the best young women’s player in the game. But her game is not suited for the NBA. And if she tried to go up against the much bigger and faster NBA players, it might serve only to make the women’s game look weak.
Like many of her 6-foot-8 male counterparts, Griner grew quickly and has been a post player her entire life. But in the NBA, she would be too small (height and strength) to play inside. And she never developed the quickness to beat defenders off the dribble or to create her own jump shots, things you need to play outside in the NBA.
It is much like the tale of Jackie Robinson. At the time, many believed there were better African-American baseball players. But Branch Rickey passed up those players because he knew Robinson was the right African-American baseball player. And Rickey knew that if the first African-American player failed, it would hurt all African-American players.
It is quite possible that a woman will someday play in the NBA. But if she is going to succeed, it will probably have to be a small guard with great quickness and shooting ability. Griner’s a great player, but if she tries to go up against the NBA players she is going to fail, and it will only serve to support the naysayers that say it can’t be done.
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