Matt on 08 31, 2009
In a May 10th mother’s day interview on ESPN, Lisa Leslie said she could’ve played in the NBA. I was shocked and appalled. Twenty minutes later, I realize, “Did you see Lisa Leslie say she could’ve played in the NBA?” I think it is absurd. For Lisa Leslie to make a statement like that is outrageous. No woman could play in the NBA. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player in the WNBA. So, I’ll break down why Lisa Leslie was way out of line saying that.
Let’s picture for a moment that a young Leslie is on the court with the guys. She’s apparently 6 foot 5, 170 pounds, according to everywhere I’ve looked. She’s played center in the WNBA, and towered over some of the other women. A 6 foot 5, 170 pound NBA player would be an extremely slight and weak shooting guard. On defense, she would be exploited defensively every single trip down the court. They would get the ball to the guy who she’s guarding. This guy would have a number of options to make Leslie look silly. He could simply cross her over and explode to the rim off the dribble, being a lot quicker than her. She’d be left in his dust. No question about it. Either that or she’d have no choice but to foul him. Or, he could take Leslie into the post, use his 50-60 extra pounds of muscle, and just back her down until he was right next to the basket. She would not be able to stop this. There’s no way.
It would be like asking Manute Bol to try to stop Shaquille O’Neal in the post. Impossible. If the guy wanted a little more of a challenge, toying with her, he would simply raise up from the perimeter, and drain a jumper in her mug. She wouldn’t be able to jump as high as him, and probably wouldn’t get a hand in his face. It would be an uncontested jump shot. Leslie would have to pray that the guy settled for the jumper. That would be her only shot of getting an individual stop. Men have trouble stopping other men. Who honestly thinks a woman could stop Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant from getting to the rim? Oh, that’s right. Lisa does.
Now Leslie’s on offense and they give her the rock. There’s a big, quick, NBA shooting guard covering her, ala Kobe or Dwyane. What’s she going to do in this situation? Her ball handling skills clearly aren’t guard-like, because she’s played center her whole career. All she needed to do in the WNBA was catch the ball in the post, take a few dribbles, and shoot near the rim. Now she’s caught on the perimeter. She couldn’t possibly get past the guy. There’s no chance she could back him down. So the guy knows her only option is to throw up a deep, stand still jump shot, which might get blocked. If they ran a pick & roll for her, she would probably get off a shot.
Trying to rebound would be a disaster. They would toss her around like a rag doll. Defending guys on a fast break would be comical. Coaches would have to take her off the court because she’s way too much of a defensive liability. Period. If you think any other scenario would ensue, you’re crazy. Lisa, this is a pipe dream! I’m fired up!