Cavs rookie Evan Mobley is on a heater, taken recent challenge head-on

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was rough news last week when Jarrett Allen was ruled out indefinitely because of a left middle finger fracture. The injury reportedly occurred in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the Toronto Raptors the Sunday before last.

Allen sustained a quad contusion as well, but the finger is the key issue, and is why Allen is out indefinitely. Allen reportedly won’t have surgery on the finger, and could potentially be back for a Cavaliers postseason run, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, though.

It was still unfortunate that happened with Allen, either way, given all that he means to the Cavs. He’s had a career year, and is so valuable at both ends of the floor on the interior, and he’s shown considerable growth offensively.

In the mean time, Allen’s absence has led to Evan Mobley taking over at the starting 5. That’s Mobley’s more natural spot, so he’d seemingly fill in well, but there are some tough matchups for him for stretches going against bigger, more physical 5s defensively. Mobley is thin still at 215 pounds; he’ll still be alright, to a large degree, on the plus side.

Cleveland has had him often as a helper too, to maybe lessen his workload and keep him out of foul trouble.

And on offense, Mobley has really played well filling in for Allen lately. Since that Toronto game on March 6, the rookie has had 21.1 points per contest on 55.5 percent shooting, and that included a season-high 30 points in an overtime win over the LA Clippers on Monday night.

This uptick has been great to see from the USC product, and he’s truly taken this challenge of late head-on.

Mobley is on a heater for the Cavs lately, and has taken this recent challenge head-on.

Mobley looks to be the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, as he’s been one of the key reasons for the Cavaliers’ resurgence this season, despite the team having to deal with crucial injuries for much of the season. On the year, Mobley has had 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest, and him along with Allen has proven to be such an effective defensive duo.

Additionally, Mobley’s switchability has made a difference, and he’s had 1.7 blocks per outing, while only having 2.2 fouls per game. He’s been among the league leaders in contested shots per contest for the entirety of the season, too.

But circling back to the offensive end, Mobley has filled in really well with Allen out, as his cutting timing has been on display, and though more of his damage has been as a play finisher of late, he’s still shown his great touch on hooks and push shots. And what shouldn’t be discounted is how Mobley has continually made himself available for the likes of Darius Garland, Brandon Goodwin, Caris LeVert and others.

There have still been sequences where Mobley’s self-creation via drives against opposing bigs or mid-post plays have led to great looks for him where he’s gotten those to go too still, however. That’s been a relief, also, as prior to the All-Star break and a bit after, Mobley did look a bit out of sorts offensively, but he’s picked things back up.

His assertiveness and finishing with both power and touch came up clutch for the Cavaliers in their comeback win over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, where Cleveland ultimately won in overtime once again. The Cavs needed that from the rook, and he delivered.

In that one, Mobley finished with 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting, and had nine big points in the overtime period; one missed free throw late wasn’t ideal, but I’ll cut him some slack. He had 11 rebounds and two blocks in the game as well.

Now, there are some instances where Mobley looks unsure of himself in traffic, as was the case in Cleveland’s loss at the Chicago Bulls last Saturday night, however, for the most part, he’s done a more than admirable job in this latest stretch.

One shouldn’t gloss over his passing help, either, which has helped guys such as Lauri Markkanen and Garland, for example.

Next. 1 stud and 1 dud for Cavs in OT win over Nuggets. dark

So, regardless of whether or not Allen is potentially back for a postseason run, it’s been fantastic to see Mobley step up to this challenge and take it head-on with Allen out. Evan should be an obvious Rookie of the Year choice, in my mind.