Could Brittney Griner survive in the NBA?

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brittney-griner-nbaIn 1979, Ann Meyers became the first and last woman to sign a contract with an NBA team. She inked a $50,000 no-cut clause contract with the Indiana Pacers, but, unfortunately, didn’t survive her three-day tryout.

Since that time, standout women basketball players have far more avenues to continue their playing careers. There are plenty of female European leagues along with the WNBA. And up until this week, the WNBA is pretty much where everybody expected 6’8″ Baylor Bears star Brittney Griner to be heading….that is, until Mark Cuban made some attention-seeking remarks about her.

Before a game between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, Cuban claimed that he’d actually think about taking her in the 2013 NBA Draft. His statement went as follows:

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.

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.

brittney-griner-nba1Cuban went on to say that he thinks Griner would have plenty of marketing potential if she were to try out for his team. But is that where the discussion of Brittney Griner playing in the NBA ends, with marketing potential?

The Houston native has fascinated many basketball fans since YouTube videos surfaced of her throwing down two-handed dunks. Sure she wasn’t the first woman to dunk; however, Griner is the first known lady to be putting down two-handed slams with ease. She certainly lived up to expectations at Baylor too after racking up the following accolades:

– Led the Bears to the 2012 NCAA title and a 40-0 record
– Blocked 736 career shots, more than any college female or man
– Dunked a record 18 times, more than all other college women combined (15)
– Averaged 23.0 PPG or more for her last three seasons

Obviously Brittney Griner was a fantastic collegiate player – quite possible the best ever in women’s college hoops. This being said, it’s no wonder why the Phoenix Mercury are assuredly going to take her with the first pick overall in this year’s WNBA Draft. But is she good enough to transcend the women’s game and actually play in the NBA?

Brittney GrinerStarting with the positives, Griner has a huge wingspan (7’4″) and excellent timing, which easily explains her incredible shot blocking ability. She also developed a nice mid-range game while at Baylor and greatly improved her basketball IQ.

However, Griner weighs just 207 pounds, which at 6’8″ isn’t exactly the ideal NBA frame. Seeing as how she would probably be playing power forward in the NBA, Griner would regularly be competing against the likes of Blake Griffin (6’10”, 250 pounds), Paul Millsap (6’8″, 253 pounds), Zach Randolph (6’9″, 260 pounds) and David Lee (6’9″, 240 pounds). It’s hard to envision a scenario where she wouldn’t be constantly backed down by these guys and scored on at will.

Luckily we won’t ever have to see this scenario because Griner will be picked number one overall on April 15th. Cuban wouldn’t be able to draft her until June 27th, at which point he would have to purchase her rights from the Phoenix Mercury. And while Cuban may be an attention whore, he’ll likely be more focused on rebuilding a Dallas franchise that has spiraled downward following a 2011 championship season.

This being said, the hypotheticals involving Brittney Griner to the NBA are just something for the media to have a good time with. And if there ever is a female player who goes to the NBA, it’ll likely be a talented guard who doesn’t have to bump heads with 250 and 260-pound men in the paint.

NFL Player working for Minimum Wage during Offseason

terrance-ganawayAfter earning the rookie minimum of $390,000 last NFL season, Terrance Ganaway probably isn’t hurting for money. However, the current St. Louis Rams running back recently took a very interesting offseason job at Jimmy Johns, which makes sub sandwiches “Freaky fast! Freaky good.”

Ganaway’s new line of employment began when he sent out a lighthearted tweet asking if anybody in the Waco, Texas area was hiring. A short while later, somebody from Jimmy Johns tweeted that the chain sub restaurant was looking for new employees. So Ganaway took them up on the offer and has been working there 12 hours a week. He discussed his new job by telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the following:

I’m on the line that makes the sandwiches. I bake bread. Take the cashier spot. I had to sweep the other day. Clean the tables. I mean, all types of stuff. Slice the meat. Wrap the meat.

terrance-ganaway-1My No. 1 job is being an NFL player. So don’t get it confused as to me working at Jimmy John’s has me lazy. … I know what I have to do. I know how to get in shape and I know what it takes to perform at a high level. Really, Jimmy John’s is just to keep me out of trouble in all the down time we have in the offseason.

As alluded to in Ganaway’s comments to the Post-Dispatch, the primary reason for working at Jimmy Johns is to keep himself busy and out of trouble during the NFL offeason. And he gave some additional reasons why working at the sub shop is a good idea as he tweeted:

– Ok everyone wants to know why I am working at Jimmy John’s….well I am going to answer that.

– 3 reasons: 1. I have too much free time. 2. Tell my kids I worked two jobs to put them through school. 3. Cause the pay is really good.

terrance-ganaway-2The last reason is obviously a joke – especially since Ganaway is set to earn $480,000 next season with the Rams. However, he’ll have to make the team first because, unfortunately, NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed.

After rushing for 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior year at Baylor, Ganaway was drafted in the sixth round (202nd overall) by the New York Jets. The Texas native’s combine speed (4.67 forty-yard dash) wasn’t overly impressive; however, the Jets did like his size (6’0, 240 pounds) and strength.

However, Terrance was waived right before the season began and remained on waivers until September 1st, 2012 – when the Rams claimed him. After appearing in St. Louis’ final three games as a special teams player, Ganaway will be hoping to increase his role in 2013.