As news of the arrests of Duke Mondy and Dante Williams rippled through Twitter and the Internet, basketball became an afterthought. Real life takes over in these situations; the game is after all just a game.
But for the remainder of Oakland's team, the season must go on, and it might be a while before Mondy is back on the court with his teammates.
The Grizzlies could probably live without Williams. He provides depth, he provides another body inside. But overall, he isn't the reason that Oakland will win games this season. And last season, his performance was rate -2.2 HW30, meaning he may have cost his team with his limited production during his minutes.
No, the real loss here is Mondy, who was not only the Grizzlies' best defender, but also their main ball-handler and de facto point guard.
Last season, Mondy's HW30 score, or his value over 30 games was 4.3 wins, rating the best on the team in that measure. That's right. It wasn't Travis Bader who earned the most value for his time on the floor, it was Mondy.
And that value came in the most minutes on the team. He wasn't just packing the stat sheet in limited time, and potentially a small sample size. He was consistently turning in huge numbers night after night.
On the defensive side of the ball, he was a monster, grabbing 100 steals. He earned a DEF100 score, or the number of points he save per 100 minutes, of 11.39. Numbers like that are normally reserved for forwards, who grab defensive rebounds, or big shot blockers. They don't belong to point guards.
That is what makes Mondy special. He does everything for this team.
And in his place, Oakland doesn't really have anyone.
If you move the primary ball handling to Bader, you are making a mistake. Bader is a great shooter, but he is not a distributor of the ball. You need to keep him focused on what his strength is.
Instead, that role is likely to fall to freshman Khalil Felder who through two games this season had five assists and seven turnovers. He has also shot just 25 percent from the floor.
There is no telling what it will mean when you remove four wins from a team, assuming that Mondy could be gone for a while (and coach Greg Kampe won't evaluate the players' statuses until he returns to Michigan)
What is clear is that you are replacing a known quantity with a very big unknown, and that is almost irreplacable. We saw this in the NCAA Tournament when North Carolina lost its star point guard Kendall Marshall. But Marshall had a huge wealth of talent around him. He was a very important part of that team (5 wins or so on the HOOPWAR scale), but he also had a Tyler Zeller and a John Henson and a Harrison Barnes. He was leaving behind a team of superstars.
Oakland has one star in Bader and another very good player in Corey Petros, but neither lived up to the value that Mondy had. And when you are going into battle with just two players instead of that important third, you are missing a big piece of the winning formula.
The Grizzlies are in trouble for the remainder of this nonconference season without Mondy, and potentially into the Horizon League year, if he is still out. They might still be good enough to compete in the league, but it will be much harder without their floor leader, especially when they are giving up so many wins of value by default.
Yeah, this is bad news.