Could Brittney Griner be the first female to make an NBA roster?
The suggestion of her making it to the ‘Association’ has been asked before, but the topic deserves a refresh.
She’s 6 foot 8 inches tall with a wing span of 86 inches. The most impressive aspect of her athletic sculpture is her leanness. Though she currently does most of her work in the post, she looks like she has the potential to be a silky, smooth player with her rail figure and long arms.
In the women’s game, she has an imposing presence. She needs to use her presence to take care of business this year. She can quiet more critics by leading her Baylor Bears to a national championship.
Of course her length is intimidating in the women’s game, but it won’t hold too much weight in the men’s game. She would be a ‘Project’ of sorts for an NBA team.
They’ll have to work her out and figure out how to play her. She may not be tall enough for the power forward position.
Can she adapt her game for a swingwoman small forward position? This looks to be the biggest challenge. She may not have enough game for this position.
She gets up off the ground pretty good, but not like a guy can. This is the difference in men and women athletes. The muscle to fat ratio she does better than average in comparing a female athlete to a male athlete, but the dynamic muscle and fast-twitch muscles for her are slower and not as strong.
If the first woman is not Griner, than what will the first woman look like or will a woman never make an NBA roster?
Could a speedy woman point guard make it, or will the size of her hands always be an issue? The women use a smaller diameter ball in college and in the pros.
Griner’s hands are plenty big enough. She has dunked in a game before and it was the real kind, not the one in which the ball is rattled in. Also, she is an aggressive player, not afraid of challenges. She’s had her share of controversy, including punching an opposing player.
Griner may get the playing time. She could get a bigger contract to play 12th man or wo-man for an NBA team than she could in the WNBA. And, she can always get to the WNBA later on.
So, which team could take a chance on her?
Most likely, the only team owned by the NBA, the New Orleans Hornets.
She goes to Baylor University and is from Houston, both close enough to New Orleans to get added interest from basketball fans in the area.
Ultimately, she’d end up becoming a publicity stunt, but with good intentions. Her game can improve and she can move forward to the WNBA more prepared to dominate.
The debate would continue, but in a different way. Will any Woman ever start and/or play major minutes on a competing team?…or something to that effect.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com