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Brittney Griner Would Be Able to Play in the NBA, Just Not at a High Level

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Brittney Griner Would Be Able to Play in the NBA, Just Not at a High Level
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has come out and said he'd consider drafting Baylor senior Brittney Griner (via ESPN).

Right now, I'd lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it. You never know unless you give somebody a chance.

Good luck with that, Mr. Cuban.

Griner could certainly play in the National Basketball Association, just not at a high level. It's not that she doesn't have the skill set, it's the simple fact that she is a female who would be competing with professional male athletes on a nightly basis. 

But if she were drafted by Dallas, how would she fit in? Where would she play? I think she'd have to come off the bench to play against the other team's second unit. She doesn't have the strength or the bulk to play against a starting lineup. 

So why is Griner even being considered to be drafted? Let's take a look at some of her attributes as a basketball player. 

 

Size

Griner is 6'8" and 208 pounds, the prototypical height of a power forward, but not the weight. She'd have to put on at least 15 pounds of muscle to be able to compete with opposing forwards. Weighing as much as a light NBA guard just won't cut it inside the paint. 

For comparison, let's look at Shawn Marion. The Maverick veteran is 6'7" and 228 pounds; that's the kind of size Griner would aim to compete with. 

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Another thing to consider is the fact that she has larger hands than LeBron James and her 7'4" wingspan is longer than Andrew Bynum's. So basically, she's a freak of nature. 

 

Skill Set

Along with being able to dunk the basketball, Griner has some nice footwork around the basket. She can execute a smooth turnaround jump shot while posting up and she has a somewhat smooth shooting stroke from the free-throw line, where she sports a respectable 71.2 percentage.

But if she were to compete with men, she'd have to develop a midrange jump shot because she wouldn't do well relying solely on her post game, as she has a natural strength disadvantage being female. 

Her true value would be on the defensive side of the ball. Having blocked 748 total shots during her collegiate career—which is the most among any man or woman—she'd be a shot-blocking threat on the professional level. A 4.1 BPG average is formidable, no matter what kind of league you play in. 

 

Conclusion

Griner has the skills, and in most cases, the size to be a serviceable NBA power forward. She'd be a solid role player off the bench for maybe 10-15 minutes per game, but she probably wouldn't be able to handle starting lineups or prolonged periods of time on the court. 

But as Cuban believes, give her a chance. Let's see how she'd do.

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