Cavs’ Evan Mobley lingers in Rookie Ladder; taking crack at my first one

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images /
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Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) /

Ah, another edition of the Kia NBA Rookie Ladder was released last Wednesday, and there were no real surprises within the rankings. I still believe and will continue to believe that Evan Mobley should be at the top every week, simply because nobody has had an impact on their new team quite like Mobley has with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s making his biggest impact in the most important statistic; wins.

This season the Cavaliers are a surprisingly good 13-7 with him, and without him they are 0-4. It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. Mobley is having the biggest impact in the game’s most pivotal statistic. Nonetheless, we do need to talk about some of the other NBA rookies that were found on the ladder last week.

Scottie Barnes stays atop, while Cunningham further solidifies himself

The Toronto Raptors fourth overall selection this season Scottie Barnes has taken everything that I thought I knew about him for the draft, and shoved it right in my face. He’s been sensational this season while playing the most minutes out of any rookie (35.3) and is averaging just over 15 points per contest while also hauling in nearly eight rebounds.

Barnes has been the two-way star for Toronto that I don’t think a lot of people saw coming. On top of all of that, the Raptors have now won two straight games after having a tough nine-game stretch the previous weeks, outside of Canada. Overall, I think it’s safe to say at this point, the two best rookies in the 2021 NBA Draft have been Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley. However, with that being said, be on the lookout for No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham.

With Cunningham in mind, he seems to finally be getting his groove going in the NBA. While some people may say Cunningham is underperforming, it’s just simply not true if you compare him to last year’s Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball. Through fifteen games last season, Ball was averaging 11.5 points per game, while dishing out six assists and grabbing six boards. Granted, LaMelo was shooting much better than Cade at this point, shooting 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from three.

Cunningham’s slash line of 34 percent/25 percent isn’t that far off from the the third Ball brother. If you take a closer look at Ball’s Rookie of the Year season, he really didn’t start to emerge out of the pack until he was the focal point of the Charlotte Hornets offense in 2020. I expect the first overall pick to get more and more comfortable playing in his role with the Detroit Pistons, but eventually they will have to make him the number one guy, and when that happens, I’m not sure either Barnes or Mobley are safe on this ladder.