An offseason for the ages for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it looks as if the Cavs have a great chance at end-of-season competitve basketball this year. The biggest move of the offseason was the drafting of Evan Mobley with the third overall pick.
Mobley, a 7-footer out of USC, is seen as the next great defensive big as in his collegiate play, he averaged 2.9 blocks per game compared to just 1.8 fouls per game. To just put into perspective how insane he was on defense, he won PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year in his freshman season, the first player to do so since Gary Payton in 1987.
Offensively, Mobley is classified as a “unicorn” with his rare offensive skill set of a player of his size. As his three-point shot comes along and he continues to gain muscle, he’ll become a near-unstoppable force on both ends of the basketball.
The Cavs have a number of players on the team that fit to Mobley’s strengths. As of right now, it seems as Mobley will be the team’s starting power forward but the team will of course experiment with him in other lineups and situations. This means that Mobley should get run with second-unit players.
So taking that into consideration, which bench players fit best with Mobley?
We’ll hit on that here, beginning with a key offseason acquisition.
Cavs bench players that fit best with Mobley: Lauri Markkanen
The sign-and-trade to acquire Lauri Markkanen from the Chicago Bulls helped the Cavaliers fill their biggest need: shooting. The 24-year-old 7-footer immediately becomes the team’s third-best scorer and best shooter when you take into account makes and attempts.
Being able to play both frontcourt positions with his size paired with his shooting ability would make him a viable option alongside Mobley.
Looking at how the two fit on the court, one of Mobley’s biggest drafting points was how great of a passer he is for someone his size. Markkanen is a great shooter for Mobley to potentially pass to out of the mid-post, to make the extra pass out of the pick-and-roll, and drive-and-kicks.
Most importantly, Markkanen brings spacing which allows Mobley to operate better, getting to his spots on the floor and using his length to shoot over defenders. That combination was on the court in spurts quite a bit in Cleveland’s second preseason game at the Atlanta Hawks and at one point, the two helped the team go on an 8-0 run towards the end of the second quarter that helped the offense get back on track.
The two should play a lot more during the regular season and be a duo that should excel together.