Evan Mobley should’ve played all five Summer League games.
Yes, we know that Evan Mobley wasn’t supposed to play all five Summer League games, Chris Fedor already reported that last week. Don’t worry, he’ll remind you too. That’s not the issue. The issue is that the Cavs need to be flexible with their decision-making.
It’s fair to say that Mobley didn’t have a bad Summer League, he even had a “fine” Summer League. That’s just it though, Mobley was the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Cavs can’t afford for him to be just “fine”. The words “transcendent talent” have been used by him and others more than once. He’s supposed to be a game-changer.
Game changers don’t shoot 34.8% against G-Leaguers and fellow rookies. We knew he’d have issues scoring the ball, that was an obvious issue with his game coming in. He was no longer facing scraggly college freshmen who still have to ask their mom’s for permission to stay out late on a weekend. He’s going to be facing fully developed men.
The Cavs made a mistake by not letting him get more reps.
Evan Mobley’s bad shooting performances should’ve changed plans
It was an absolute mistake to not let Mobley finish the Summer League. It’s one thing if he was playing well, or if he was an injury-prone player; then sure, hold him out. By all accounts, however, he’s not injury prone. He’s also not playing well enough to warrant time off.
Yes, he showed a unique passing ability many didn’t think was as polished as it was, and that will come in handy. He also had nice wherewithal to position himself in places to best attack ball-handlers coming for the rim.
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He did not score efficiently and his rebounding was pretty unspectacular for someone his size. If he was putting up 13 points and seven rebounds against the Steven Adams’ and Rudy Gobert’s of the world then sure. He’s 19-years-old, it’s ok to struggle against two of the best defensive centers in the NBA as a rookie.
He’s not though, one game he got housed by a fellow rookie center who was taken after in the 2021 NBA Draft. That player, Rocket’s rookie Alperen Sengun, arguably won their first encounter, which took place in the Summer League.
That game could’ve been a fluke, so we all just went “ok, next one up.” The only problem is that the issues Mobley had in that game continued in the others. Now, we’re not saying that Mobley is going to be a bust. He’s played three exhibition games; calm down.
What we are saying, however, is that any front office worth their salt would’ve said “he needs more reps and experience, play him the other two games”. They didn’t.
It might not matter in the long run but if Mobley is rushed and doesn’t have the time needed to develop his skillsets, he may lose his confidence and never improve. That’s a long shot, admittedly, because usually, two missed games don’t sink careers. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have hurt to have Mobley out there learning on the job. Every rep matters at this stage in his career.
If he struggles, there will be questions for GM Koby Altman about how he and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff went about improving his skill set during the offseason. Holding him out of valuable minutes will certainly not look good.