The Phoenix Mercury already featured a star-studded roster prior to Monday night's 2013 WNBA draft, but with the acquisition of Brittney Griner with the No. 1 overall selection, the two-time league champions are officially must-see television.
Griner, who recently wrapped up one of the greatest college careers in the history of women's basketball, will join 2009 WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree in the desert this coming season.
All three stars missed tons of action this past season while dealing with injuries, but should be healthy when the 2013 season tips off this May.
But while Phoenix's experienced stars make it a championship contender, Griner's presence makes the Mercury must-watch basketball in whatever city they are in. The NCAA's all-time leading shot-blocker with 748, the 6'8" Griner has MVP potential and brings a never-before-seen style of play and skill set to the overlooked league.
What truly sets her, and now the Mercury, apart from the rest of the league is her ability to dunk, a feat of athleticism usually seen only in the men's game.
Griner set a record with 18 dunks at Baylor and threw down nearly a dozen this past season as a senior with the Lady Bears. Her ability to play above the rim brings a different and more exciting dimension to the women's game, an element only the Phoenix Mercury possess.
Plus, unlike most No. 1 picks who wind up carrying the burden of lifting a lousy squad, Griner will join a title contender, making the Mercury that much more of a favorite to win it all in 2013. But regardless of whether Phoenix's upcoming campaign ends with a title, there are sure to be plenty of can't-miss highlight reel plays along the way.
The WNBA has never seen a talent quite like Brittney Griner. It's not only her height that sets her apart but her remarkable athleticism. Whether she's swatting shots into the first row, posterizing opponents or scoring in a variety of ways, Griner is entertaining in the process of dominating.
With the creative Taurasi running the show in Phoenix, don't be surprised if we see an alley-oop from Griner end up on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays sometime this season. The potential for such plays are there now, just as they were at Baylor.
Surrounded by a handful of experienced superstars, Griner is sure to flourish as a pro, helping lift the Phoenix Mercury and the WNBA to new heights, both literally and figuratively.
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