Could the Dallas Mavericks Draft Brittney Griner?

Brittney Griner's got game.       Photo by Mo Khursheed/Newscom
Brittney Griner’s got game. Photo by Mo Khursheed/Newscom

If it weren’t for Yu’s painfully-near-perfecto last night, the biggest story buzzing around Dallas sports this morning would be likely be Mark Cuban’s comments to ESPN Dallas about the possibility of drafting Baylor University’s women’s basketball star Brittney Griner:

“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.”

Griner responded on Twitter:

The sports cognoscenti are in agreement that chances are slim-to-none that this would occur. Griner stands a great chance of being the best player in the WNBA. In the NBA she’d maybe get a shot at the Mavericks’ summer league, and even Cuban acknowledges that the odds aren’t great that she’d end up making the team. But that hasn’t stopped seemingly every outlet in North America that covers sports from weighing in on the matter. Here’s a sampling of some of the more notable comments.

Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports doesn’t care for Griner being used by Cuban, or the NBA, for marketing purposes to sell out some summer league games.

She’s not a gimmick to be gawked at and over-scrutinized by the collection of NBA executives and bored NBA freaks who watch the Summer League every year. No, at that point in her summer schedule she’s supposed to be here, doing damage for the Phoenix Mercury and leading a turnaround for a proud franchise that has been in the WNBA Finals four times, while winning the championship in 2007 and 2009.

This is her sport, and soon to be her profession. Why talking heads and now NBA owners continually and pointlessly have to judge Brittney Griner in the reflection of her middling male counterparts shows that we still have so, so far to come. I sincerely hope that this is the last time any of us have to write a column like this.

It’s not marketing genius, sports fans. It’s a lack of imagination.

David Clark Scott at The Christian Science Monitor is enthusiastic about the possibility of a co-ed NBA:

In short, Griner’s got game. No wonder Cuban would give her a shot. And if she played, it would sell NBA tickets. It would be the biggest Venus meets Mars moment in sports since golfer at the men’s PGA tour.

Some site called Rant Sports compliments Cuban’s “smart business mind.”

Griner, however, is a legitimate prospect. She has the size and ability to play inside the paint that could lead to some success in the NBA. Even if Cuban is looking at this purely from a business standpoint it could open the door to bigger and better things for women in other sports.

I think it is fitting that in the year a major motion picture about Jackie Robinson comes out a woman is knocking on the door of the NBA. Griner should be given a chance to play in the NBA if she wants to. The only real hurdle would be a separate dressing room and a private room on the road. Other than that we are advanced enough as a society to accept women, homosexuals, and everyone in between in the sports we watch and most athletes would be accepting of those individuals within the clubhouse. Why not start with Griner and see what she can do on the court. This is a smart move, in both a business and social sense, by Cuban. I just hope he follows through with it.

Meanwhile, last night the Mavs lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, putting their playoff hopes in further jeopardy, considering they are 2 1/2 games behind both the Utah Jazz and the Lakers for the final Western Conference playoff spot and they don’t own the potential tiebreaker against either of those teams. Cuban’s probably happy there’s more chatter about Brittney Griner this morning.