Cavs could run more offense through Evan Mobley next season

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

I understand that I’m inherently biased as a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, but it’s still surprising that Evan Mobley didn’t win the Rookie of the Year for the 2021-22 season. Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors was the winner of that award for his efforts.

I’m not going to grill Barnes for doing so. He had similar numbers to Mobley, as Barnes had 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per contest for Toronto, and Barnes was one of their most important players. Toronto also made a late-season push, finishing as the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Mobley, conversely, had 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per outing for Cleveland, who stumbled post-All-Star. The Cavaliers ended up sliding to the play-in, and lost in both of their opportunities in those games to the Brooklyn Nets and then Atlanta Hawks.

The Cavs had some notable injuries down the stretch, most notably when it came to Jarrett Allen (fractured finger), but those things happen to teams.

Either way, Mobley I still believe should’ve won the Rookie of the Year, and am in the same boat as our own Corey Casey. From a consistent perspective, when it comes to the majority of the season, and his efforts in helping Cleveland have a significant turnaround as opposed to the past three years should’ve led to that.

Still, props to Barnes, who looks to have big-time two-way potential looking onward, too, similarly to Mobley.

Anyway, in regards to Mobley, he was still phenomenal in his first season, for the most part, and his defensive abilities, IQ, shot altering, interior touch, off-ball feel, mid-range and driving flashes were all impressive. Fans should be beyond bullish on his outlook, and I’m sure they are.

With next season on the mind in that realm, when watching him, his passing still jumped out, even despite the feel he and timing he demonstrated in his lone collegiate season at USC. I’d hope the Cavaliers can allow him to build on that next year, and run some things through him more.

The Cavs could run more offense through Mobley next season, as he gets more experience and after his first full offseason as a pro.

Mobley’s 2.5 assists per game weren’t an astromical amount by any means; I’m not suggesting otherwise.

Having said that, he was impactful as a secondary playmaker in plenty of games, and I do believe we could see him take further strides next season, as he hopefully gets more comfortable playing with Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and others.

Mobley has the requisite anticipation needed to hit cutters throughout games operating out of the elbows, and with his vision, combined with his 7-foot size, he can throw passes over the top to target spot-up and shooters. I’d like to think that next season, we could very well see more of those two things, whether or not Garland is getting a rest.

Mobley demonstrated that he’s more than capable of taking advantage with quick, sound decisions at times in his first year in 4-on-3 situations, too, which led to quality big-to-big feeds, and timely spray-outs to the wings. And with him having some legit driving capability and with his secondary shot creation via floaters and the mid-range, he should improve in those inverted situations.

Mobley looked, for the most part, very composed operating out of the mid-post as well throughout games, and in some stretches more so when filling in at the 5 I’d think, we could see Cleveland run things through him in that area at times.

Granted, I’m aware that it’ll depend on what perimeter shooters are on the floor with him in those instances, but his passing in those situations, and balancing getting to his spots and making kickouts led to quality looks for the Cavaliers, due to Mobley’s incredible IQ. In those scenarios, his feel for a now-soon-to-be 21-year-old big is so rare.

So, generally, while I’m not saying he’s going to be a primary playmaker, and I’d definitely expect Cleveland to add a backup point guard this offseason, via potential Ricky Rubio return or other rumored potential targets like Tyus Jones or Delon Wright, I’d anticipate more offense running through Mobley next season.

There were some turnovers at times from him because of inexperience, and some of that from his slender frame; he had 1.9 per game. However, with a full offseason to get stronger, and hopefully make strides as a catch-and-shoot player, as he hit only 25.0 percent from three in Year 1 and didn’t attempt many, I do believe we could see his secondary playmaking take another step forward.

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I’d expect to see a more assertive Mobley in Year 2, as an aside, but with his unselfishness and team mindset, he’d be able to get his teammates going more as a counter to that, if the chances present themselves, too.