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Know Your Non-conference Opponent: Oakland

A massive exodus from an already mediocre team has left the Grizzlies in a really bad spot for the upcoming season.

ARL - Warriors v Bears
Photo by Getty Images

It has been a few years now, but Oakland had a couple of decent teams right there in a row. First Khalil Felder was like a 5’9” version of everything Providence fans wanted to believe Kris Dunn was, but that squad pooped out to Wright State in the first round of the conference tournament. Then they had a slightly more mediocre team up one with the ball with 11 seconds left in the first round of the conference tournament before somehow contriving to lose to Youngstown State.

Now Greg Kampe’s boys have taken a big step backward last year and seem in line for another one this season. This isn’t the first time in Kampe’s time at Oakland - which began in 1984! - that he has gone through this cycle, as he guided the Grizzlies to their first NCAA tournament win in 2005 and took them to back to back tournaments in 2010 and 2011. In 34 years at Oakland he has been able to do what Jose Mourinho has not in his various stops, evolving as the game does to make sure he’s still as tactically cutting-edge as he was when Al Gore was still working on getting the internet up and running.

Speaking of the ol’ information superhighway, it informs me that Oakland will be visiting Cintas at noon on December 12, a Saturday. Tickets are going fast, so call today.

Key departures

Kendrick Nunn, G (25.9/4.7/3.8, .435/.394/.838)
Jalen Hayes, F (18.8/8.1/2.0, .525/.217/.830)
Martez Walker, F (17.6/4.1/1.6, .462/.333/.779)
Nick Daniels, G (8.5/2.7/3.9, .364/.373/.722)
Isaiah Brock, C (5.4/8.1/0.6, .703/.000/.645)

Wew, lad. Nunn, Walker, and Hayes all posted ORtgs of at least 110 with usage rates above 20%. The offense was based in large part on getting the ball to one of those three guys and letting him do his thing. Nunn and Walker combined for 188 made threes, and Nick Daniels threw in another 60. That is more than 10 made threes walking out the door for every 1 staying on the roster for Oakland. Also, Brock and Hayes combined for nearly 40% of the team’s rebounds. Eesh.

Keep in mind, this was a 19-14 team and it’s losing 86% of its points, 68% of its rebounds, 65% of its assists, 87% of its made buckets, and 92% of its made threes.

Key returnees

Brailen Neely, Jr., 5’9” G (4.0/1.8/5.5/, .426/.292/.857)

Neely is a good ball distributor with a bit of a turnover problem weighing him down. He makes his free throws though, and Oakland has proven to be a place where a 5’9” guard can shine. I’d reckon he’s going to have his chances, as he’s the only guy coming back who averaged more minutes last year than the fourth-leading scorer averaged points.

Incoming players

Jordan Nobles, Sr., 6’9” F
Karmari Newman, So., 6’4” G

Nobles is an EMU grad transfer who can really shoot it from deep. He shot 38.6% last year and 38.5% the year before that from behind the arc. He’s a really low usage rate guy who doesn’t do much that isn’t shooting. Newman comes over by way of George Mason, where he was a deep bench guy who had some nice moments. He’s got a nice lefty stroke and a reputation as a good on-ball defender.

Kampe has been through it all in his time at the helm in Oakland, but it’s hard to say that this year isn’t going to be brutal for him and the Grizz. The best-case scenario is that everyone stays healthy and performs up to potential, and even then there just isn’t a lot of grist in the mill on this roster. Unless somebody who was getting no run last year blows up, this is going to be a rough season.