Evan Mobley, a potential generational talent for the Cavs
As talented as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, and Jarrett Allen are, the Cavs appear to have struck gold with the 20-year-old—a prospect widely viewed to be generational talent just as worthy of being selected first overall in any other class.
A mobile 7’0” stretch big, the former University of Southern California standout has drawn comparisons with recent Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Chris Bosh and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis, and immediately became the one with the highest ceiling within the Cavs roster.
Starting in all 33 appearances for the Trojans, he averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, and 2.4 assists in his lone year donning the cardinal and gold jersey, meriting some consideration as being a better choice over first or second pick over eventual top selections Cade Cunnigham (Detroit Pistons) or Jalen Green (Houston Rockets).
As the new NBA season draws near, however, experts do not seem to agree.
Can Evan Mobley realistically contend for the NBA Rookie of the Year award?
Some NBA analysts gave Mobley virtually no chance to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. In a forecast produced by ESPN’s expert panel, the top two picks of this year’s draft class split all of the first-place votes, with the Rockets’ pick Jalen Green taking a landslide decision with 72.2 percent.
Mobley only managed to garner six out of 162 possible points, but that is completely understandable. As a big man going up against ball-dominant players (three including the Orlando Magic’s Jalen Suggs, who was third in the same poll), he starts off at an obvious disadvantage.
Never mind that those three players had impressive performances at the NBA Summer League, while Mobley had an adequate but very promising showing with modest averages of 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds. Although he also left a mark in other areas by adding three assists and 1.7 blocked shots per outing in only three appearances for Cleveland in Las Vegas.
It is evident that Mobley will need some time to bulk up and improve his interior finishing as he transitions to the NBA level, but his skill and versatility on both ends of the floor will provide an immediate impact for the Cavs.
He has the ability to put the ball on the floor, run the break, has great range, not to mention being a defense-oriented big man who can not only protect the rim but also defend and switch onto smaller players due to his mobility.
So what if the California-native does not win Rookie of the Year? None of that truly matters. We’ve seen several winners of the award not have their careers pan out as projected and turn out to be considered as busts.
The important thing is that he exponentially raises the ceiling for the Cavaliers going forward. Sure, winning hardware in your first season would be great, but developing into a multiple-time All-Star player as part of a playoff contender is more ideal.
With that said, Cavaliers fans should continue to root for Evan Mobley even as a heavy underdog in the rookie race, but with tempered expectations and a view of the bigger picture in mind.