Cuban told reporters before the Dallas Mavericks' game against the Los Angeles Lakers that not only would he give her a chance, he would draft her if she was the best player still available (via ESPN):
If she is the best on the board, I will take her. 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.
After hearing the news that Cuban would consider picking up Griner in the NBA Draft, or at least giving her a chance to make a splash in a tryout, she gave Cuban the word that she was ready for the challenge.
Mark Cuban may draft Brittney Griner m.espn.go.com/general/story?… ...I would hold my own! Lets do it— Brittney Griner (@Brittney4Griner) April 3, 2013
For the record, Dallas holds the 43rd overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, not one in the late-50s. Regardless, Cuban talked about picking up Griner as if it would be more than just a publicity stunt, though he was obviously aware of the increased attention the Mavericks would get if he were to go through with it:
She'd still have to make the team. 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.
(On the huge marketing potential for Summer League games)
It would, wouldn't it? See how she could do? That'd sell out a few games.
Griner, the three-time First Team All-American, 2012 AP Player of the Year, three-time Big 12 Player of the Year and four-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, has put together one of the most impressive college careers of any basketball player, not just among women.
The 6'8'' center has formidable strength, great post moves and has even developed a decent jump shot over the past season.
The only question left is whether or not she would be able to hang with men, even as one of the team's last players off the bench.
On the surface, she's too thin to deal with playing in the paint (she's listed at 208 lbs. by USABasketball.com), and judging her effectiveness against women is hard to translate to the men's game.
It seems like a long shot that she would be able to make an NBA roster, but in the end, there's just no way to tell without seeing her take the floor in the Association.
How this would work out logistically still seems shaky. The WNBA Draft takes place on April 15 with the season starting on May 24, both happening before the end of the NBA season.
With that, it seems as if Griner would have to forgo her rookie season in the WNBA if she wanted to try out for the Mavericks, as the NBA draft would coincide with the fifth week of the WNBA season and the Summer League would start sometime in the beginning of July.
While Griner has shown her interest, it's hard to say how far the relationship between her and Cuban could go.
Not only would it be a huge risk for Griner in terms of passing up on her first season in the WNBA, but it would place an immense amount of pressure on her shoulders as the first woman to compete at the highest level.
Would it be a long shot? Absolutely, but you can't say you wouldn't be intrigued with the possibility.
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