Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Griner already an evolutionary player in the WNBA

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 5, 2013 - 12:51 AM

Griner has played only two pro games — both losses — and she already is being called a game-changer.

“I guess you could say that,” Griner said. “By playing above the rim, people say I’m changing the game, just playing like that. … But I really feel like I’m just adding onto it. I’m adding onto the game, bringing in something new.”

‘Beyond game-changing’

So where should we place Griner on the game’s evolutionary scale? Lynx assistant coach Jim Petersen, a 6-10 forward/center who had an eight-year NBA career, has some strong opinions.

“It’s a step that is almost beyond game-changing,” he said. “Because the women’s game has never seen anything like this before. A woman this physically gifted, with that size, strength and speed. … I think Lisa Leslie is the Mikan [of the women’s game]. She changed the game for post players and ‘bigs’ and brought a lot of panache to the game. I think Griner is more the Abdul-Jabbar of the game. Or Wilt Chamberlain. I mean, completely dominant.”

That’s a lot of pressure. During training camp, Abdul-Jabbar came to Phoenix and worked with Griner on the sky hook. He developed the unstoppable shot in part because the NCAA took away his ability to dunk. Most agree that if Griner can master the move, it would be borderline unfair.

“She does things that we’ve not seen before in women’s basketball,” said Carolyn Peck, a former college and WNBA coach and now an ESPN analyst. “No one else makes warm-ups exciting, but she does because she goes up and dunks. I think she’ll bring a different fan to the WNBA.”

Said Rebecca Lobo, former league player: “She will change every game she plays, but she won’t change the game of women’s basketball because there aren’t any other 6-8 women out there who have her athletic abilities.’’

Still adapting

For now, Griner knows she will have to get stronger to deal with physical inside play. She knows she’ll need to diversify her offensive game, though many believe the three-second rule will be just as advantageous to her on the offensive side as it is limiting on defense.

“I have a lot to learn,” she said. “I see that every day, with everything I do.”

Mercury veterans Diana Taurasi and Alexis Hornbuckle have helped her transition to the pro level, but it shouldn’t take long. Griner said she doesn’t bother looking at records for things such as scoring or rebounding, though she did admit she might have peeked at Margo Dydek’s all-time block record of 877.

Of course, there are some who aren’t ready to go overboard yet. New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer, a productive big man during his NBA career, is one of them.

“While players come and go that can change the face of how the game is played, most of them are guards,” he insisted. “Even Wilt, though he may have scored a hundred zillion points, won only one championship [two, actually] when he was older and playing with good guards like Jerry West.”

Laimbeer, though, appears to be in the minority. As for Leslie’s nickname?

“That’s a great compliment,” Griner said.

“I feel like I can,” Griner added, when asked if she would change the game. “I have the opportunity to. I hope I can do that. And you know, I can’t wait to see how it unfolds, throughout my career.”


  • related content

  • Chart: Game-changers in sports

    Tuesday June 4, 2013

    GAME-CHANGERSHere is a list of a few notable athletes whose skill prompted rules changes in the sports they played, much...

  • Lynx getting ready for Griner with a 7-foot practice center

    Tuesday June 4, 2013

    The Lynx spent Tuesday's practice preparing to face 6-foot-8 rookie center Brittney Griner, who comes to town with Phoenix on Thursday.

  • Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner, left, blocks a shot by Seattle Stor...

  • Phoenix Mercury rookie center Brittney Griner, right, compares hand si...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8:00 PM
UNLV 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters