Latest News / Apr 4, 2013 / 11:00 am

Forget the NBA, Brittney Griner Couldn’t Play in the D-League (or Could She?)

brittney griner

When we posted this piece yesterday about Mark Cuban considering drafting Brittney Griner in the 2nd round of this year’s NBA Draft, I was honestly shocked by the response we got here and on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. There appears to be a large portion of the basketball universe that thinks that Griner could potentially compete at the NBA level. I don’t think I saw anyone say that they believe that she could dominate or anything like that, but many, many readers seem to think that, in theory, she could potentially hang with NBA players.

This blew my mind.

But then I started to wonder, “At what level of men’s basketball could Brittney Griner could compete and maybe even excel?”

My opinion? Low level, Men’s DIII. While it may appear otherwise, this is not a slight against Griner in any way. It really isn’t. I want to make clear that I think the she is an amazing talent; the most physically dominant women’s college player of all-time. She deserves all of the honors and respect that she has earned. But there’s not a chance that she could legitimately hang in the men’s game on a high level. If you have watched a lot of basketball on different levels, you know that the biggest difference between high school basketball and even low-level Division III is the physicality. The difference between the physical play from high school to DIII is shocking. From DIII to DII, even more so, and so on. The difference between high school and NBA is almost hard to fathom.

To make sure I wasn’t crazy, I consulted a good friend of mine who has coached for many years at multiple levels of college and high school men’s basketball. When asked if Griner could compete at the DIII level, this was his response:

“Good question. I would think her size would be a factor. Compared to her competition, she’d be like a weaker, skinny, tall kid. DIII is loaded with kids just like that. I think she could play, but wouldn’t be dominant by any stretch.

“Keep in mind that DIII is also loaded with 6-6 men. They just play the 5-spot, because it’s DIII. Griner would block some shots and make some short shots, etc. But once she went up against upper-tier DIII teams? The bigs would smash her.”

But that’s just our opinion. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know everything. So what do you say?

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  • UncheckedAggression

    Good article. It’s frustrating, because it only highlights how naive people are when it comes to these things. And “naive” is putting is nicely.

    I think back to high school, where our varsity women’s team was one of the best in the conference. Our freshman boy’s team was not that great. Girls at that age are essentially full-grown, and the guys are nowhere near full-grown. And you know what happened when we scrimmaged? Blowout. Layup after layup after layup. Like I said yesterday, it just isn’t a fair comparison in sports like basketball. The level of athleticism renders the comparisons useless.

    Low level DIII sounds possible, and is a huge compliment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dimejosh2001 Dime Josh

    Agree 100%. D-III excluding the top 25 to 30 teams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.callihan1 Chris Callihan

    And probably not even low-level d III