Posted April 03, 2013

Mavericks’ Mark Cuban to consider drafting Baylor’s Brittney Griner

Baylor Bears, Ben Golliver, Brittney Griner, Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban
(Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Brittney Griner is a three-time, first-team All-American. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Tuesday that he would consider drafting Baylor’s Brittney Griner in the second round of the 2013 draft or including the three-time, first-team All-America center on his organization’s Summer League roster.

ESPNDallas.com reports that Cuban has apparently given the idea some serious consideration.

“If she is the best on the board, I will take her,” Cuban said before the Mavs’ Tuesday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers. “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.”

“She’d still have to make the team,” Cuban said. “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.”

Although a woman has never played in an NBA game, Griner would not be the first woman to be drafted or the first to be signed by an NBA team.

Lucy Harris was selected in the seventh round of the 1977 draft by the Jazz after being selected to three straight All-America teams at Delta State University. Ann Meyers Drysdale was signed as a free agent by the Pacers in 1979 and participated in a camp with the team before she was cut.

Griner, 22, averaged 23.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.2 blocks as a senior after leading Baylor to the 2012 NCAA title as a junior. The Associated Press reports that the 6-foot-8 Griner recorded 11 dunks this season.

The gut reaction here is three-fold: Griner would be a very, very, very long shot to stick on an NBA roster, there’s no harm or meaningful cost involved in finding out and Cuban seems like the right outside-the-box executive to give her a chance. The big questions: is she interested, and would the WNBA team that drafts her be in a position contractually to accommodate the opportunity?

If so, Summer League would be the perfect venue, as it offers a public stage without overbearing amounts of pressure. The league requires a commitment of just a few weeks, enough time to get in a few practices and five games. If that was too much for her WNBA team, perhaps a long weekend that lets her suit up for two or three games? Surely it would be in the WNBA’s interest from a publicity standpoint to help facilitate this trailblazing effort.

The logistics on the NBA’s side are easy. The 15th roster spot on an NBA roster is often an important commodity; the same can’t be said about the last spot on Summer League rosters, which are usually very flexible. There’s room for her, as Cuban well knows. If the skeptics are proven correct and she can’t compete, her minutes can be carefully managed (or eliminated) just like any other summer reserve. No harm, no foul.

The potential positives vastly outweigh the negatives. A Griner appearance would be, by far, the biggest story in Summer League history, and she would lead the nightly news programs, in all likelihood, simply by stepping foot on the court. How many people does she reach and inspire by sinking a mid-range jumper? How many jaws would she drop by getting loose in transition for a dunk? Most importantly, how many minds would she change just by taking part in the huddles?

It’s a safe bet that the immensely talented Griner wouldn’t want to feel like she was part of a publicity stunt and wouldn’t want to be given an opportunity that she hadn’t earned. But at some point she has to be curious, right? She did it all at Baylor and she clearly did enough to catch Cuban’s eye. That should serve as proof that she deserves this conversation and this hypothetical opportunity.

There’s no such thing as “trying and failing” here. If she tries, she wins, female basketball players win, the WNBA wins and fans of basketball win, no matter the outcome.

19 comments
MarMac2768
MarMac2768

"There’s no such thing as “trying and failing” here. If she tries, she wins, female basketball players win, the WNBA wins and fans of basketball win, no matter the outcome."

 

How can that be said? What if she tries and fails miserably? The reason that the Jackie Robinson "experiment" was successful was that he was great! If he had not played well or even, just marginally, we might not have blacks in baseball today.

cardsfan67
cardsfan67

She would/will get destroyed underneath the basket, the only way she would be able to dunk is if was on a breakway or the men let her go through the lane untouched. I don't know if it is a publicity stunt but you could take the worst player in the NBA and they would easily beat her in any kind of matchup.

BosephHeyden
BosephHeyden

If a woman is good enough to play with the best, give her a shot.  That's true in any sport.  Maybe she gets torn apart in the preseason.  Maybe she's good enough to make the team as a bench player.  Maybe she's good enough to start every game.  Unless you give her a chance, no one will ever know.  The alternative is she can go to the WNBA where no one will remember her, and she will be a big fish in a very small pond.

John NoLastName
John NoLastName

This would be a bad idea. Equality of opportunity and equality under the law are hallmarks of any enlightened civilization, but that doesn't mean everyone has equal capabilities.

High-level basketball is a rough, tough sport. I used to get more beat up playing varsity hoops than I ever did playing football. Anyone who has played both sports with readily agree, I'm sure.

We're not talking about a coed office league here, where you can make accommodations for both genders.

Bad idea.

eddie577
eddie577

Mark Cuban's way of getting attention. How sad. 

Coponahog
Coponahog

There is no chance he drafts her... It's a Politically Correct publicity statement... She couldn't make a High School boys All American top 500 team...

TonyPorcheron
TonyPorcheron

Female basketball and Men's are totally different sports, it is not a fair comparison.

 

In University a couple of the top girls on their teams would come over and try and play pickup with us in the summer time. I found out after they were on the Canadian Olympic Team. It was emberassing how little they could compete.

 

They can shoot if left alone (how often does that happen in a game). The main area that she will be lacking is not on offence, it would be defense where she won't be able to guard anyone.

Beth3
Beth3

She's too slow and doesn't have the hops.  She'll also lack the upper body muscle.  By dint of her size and skill set, she could dominate most men, but I'm guessing that just about any Division Three male could dominate her.  I wish it were otherwise, but that's the reality.

dahlqvist
dahlqvist

A cynical publicity stunt. Nothing more, nothing less.

Texas1der
Texas1der

Nothing more than a publicity stunt statement. There are any number of 6'8" male players coming out of college this year who are far more talented and athletic than Brittney Griner. She's undoubtedly a superb basketball player within her sport, but even as a Baylor fan, I don't think you could seriously consider her being able to compete at the NBA level.  The strength and stamina differences alone as a game wore on would put her at a significant disadvantage.  She'll do great in the WNBA if she goes that route, though.

michael.f.passe
michael.f.passe

After giving the entire sports world a lesson on how to dismantle a championship team virtually overnight to save a few bucks, Cuban must be thinking he can get Griner cheap.

thorn06
thorn06

Considering how well the Mavs have drafted since acquiring Dirk in 1998, we would have to start drafting women players to do any worse.

dreynolds48941
dreynolds48941

Cuban just has to keep his name in the headlines, doesn't he?  He is just being disrespectful to all the legitimate candidates for NBA rosters.

j7apple
j7apple

 @MarMac2768 Are you trying to compare Jackie Robinson crossing the racial line to this? Are you nuts?. She is an awesome player for the womans league, but in the NBA? Good grief, it would get ugly.

 

Nothing but a publicity stunt, and if Griner is smart, she will know it. 

j7apple
j7apple

 @dreynolds48941  Nothing but Publicity stunt, she would get torn up in the NBA and I mean bad...

 

You are so right about Cuban wasting a pick from legitimate candidates. To say she would be the best one out there when his time to draft? Give me a break.

 

Don't get me wrong, I think she is an awesome BB player, but not for the likes of the NBA