As part of his response to Bellerophons post, rb bruin stated that "this year is kind of the confluence of worst case scenarios." Since I couldn't have said it better myself, I thought I'd simply quote him and then back up his statement with a quick look into what could have been. Somewhere in an alternate universe where Howland can catch a break, our starting line up looks like this:
Looking at that line-up, the first thing that stands out to me is the dramatic increase in athleticism. There's also a solid increase in length. If Howland had those tools to work with, you'd better believe we wouldn't be experimenting with zone this year. Additionally, none of these players would be playing out of position (i.e. "power forwards" hovering around the three point line or 6'5" "small forwards" lacking athleticism). We still wouldn't have a great shooting team but easy buckets in transition and the ability to slash to the hoop would more than make up for it.
A little statistical analysis to show just how unfortunate the early exits/transfers have been. The following are the per/minute efficiency numbers (based on the NBA.com equation) for all the players that should be wearing the Blue and Gold this year.:
Stanback and Wright's numbers are with UNLV and Oklahoma respectively, while Jrue's numbers are based on last year's stats and a freshman-to-sophomore year multiplier I came up with using similar players. For those of you that don't know, Stanback is leading a 12-2 UNLV team in rebounds and steals while putting up a respectable 8.6 points per game.
Long story short, while we could be doing slightly better with what we have this year, you have to admit that not having three of your four most productive players is going to submarine most teams.