Evan Mobley Represents New-Age Stretch 5 In Cleveland | Sky’s The Limit In This Era Of Position-Less Hoops

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley is having a great first season in the NBA. The athletic 7’0 specimen is a huge part of the young, upstart and very surprising Cavs team. Mobley’s play has helped the Cavs to a 21-16 record. For the first time in the Post-Lebron Era, the Cavs are relevant. J.B Bickerstaff’s aquad is currently the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The lanky former USC product has shown an innate ability to adapt to the pace and space of the NBA. His shot-altering defense and ability to switch onto perimeter players has been a huge asset to the Cavs’ defensive philosophy. That has allowed head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to play two bigs together. Mobley and Jarrett Allen form this generation’s version of the Twin Towers.

“I feel like I’m getting adjusted to the NBA pretty fast,” Mobley said in November, after scoring 23 points and grabbing six rebounds against the Lakers. “I’m catching on to a lot of things. As I play more and more games, I’m getting better and more acclimated. I feel like I’m pretty ahead of schedule so far.”

He wasn’t lying. Mobley’s game on Sunday in a 108-104 home win over the Pacers was nothing short of sensational, delivering 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists. The progression is evident.

Mobley Has Intangibles That The Cavs Love: A Quiet Toughness

Mobley came out the gate playing well for the Cavs this season, and his two-way play helped lead to a surprising (9-5) start in Cleveland. He’s played through some nagging injuries, including a sprained wrist, sore hip and sprained elbow, all products of his slender frame. But he gutted through rehab quickly with all three and returned to the floor for the Cavs.

Prior to the draft, Mobley was compared to players like Anthony Davis and Chris Bosh because of his length, shooting touch and two-way capabilities. His effect is supported statistically. When he plays, teams have a 100.6 rating against the Cavs. When he’s out, that rating jumps up to 111.

That’s a huge difference, and tells much more about Mobley’s effect on the game beyond his 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per-game average. Those numbers have him at the top of our weekly NBA Rookie Meter along with Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes.

NBA Rookie Meter 6| 7-Footer Evan Mobley Would Be Getting Major Press If He Didn’t Play For Cavs

Mobley Was A Quiet Late Bloomer: Played At USC With Brother And Dad (Coach)

Evan is a quiet 7’0 footer. He isn’t boisterous or loud like his older brother Isaiah. Evan is about as even-keeled as you’ll find. He just wants to hoop and get better. The high school class of 2020 had some really sought-after players, but none stood out more than Mobley. When USC head coach Andy Enfield saw him play he couldn’t stop raving about Mobley’s length, athleticism, uncanny court awareness and elite basketball IQ.

He also possessed the ability to protect the rim, finish lobs and stretch the floor as evidenced by his 36 percent three-point percentage in high school. A 7-footer with guard skills was too much to pass on, and Enfield knew he could change the trajectory of the USC men’s basketball program.

Mobley Led Trojans To Sweet 16 For Second Time In Over 65 Years

Mobley’s one season in Los Angeles was to be remembered, as the prized recruit led the “Men of Troy” to the Elite Eight. His play in the Trojans matchup (2-3) zone really befuddled opponents, including blue blood Kansas in the second round and conference foe Oregon in the Sweet 16.

Following the landmark win over the Ducks, Enfield had high praise for his former five-star big man in his postgame presser.

“I do want to mention one thing here. Evan Mobley was our fourth-leading scorer tonight but he had six assists. Against Kansas he was our fifth-leading scorer and he had five assists. So that just goes to show you how unselfish Evan Mobley is and what a great player he is. He takes what the defense gives. He has confidence in his teammates, and that goes throughout the whole team.
He leads us with that. When your most talented offensive player is your most unselfish and willing passer you can win a lot of games like that.”

The Cavs seem to have found a budding nucleus in Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Isaac Okoro. Now it’s up to the newly extended J.B. Bickerstaff to continue to develop and harness that talent over the course of his tenure as the head coach in Cleveland.

His biggest advantage in a league which prides itself on the three plus pace and space


is having a player like Mobley who can do so much on both ends. That makes this rising Cavs team a tough out for any opponent.


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