Evan Mobley’s progression could lessen the Cavs’ need for shot creation

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

The talk revolving around the Cleveland Cavaliers has been the same all offseason. What will they do at the 14th overall pick? Will they extend Collin Sexton? How will they improve the depth of the team? Are improvements to shot creation necessary? The list goes on and on.

Shot creation is something the Cavaliers struggled with this season because of injuries and chemistry issues. Limitations then led to poor offensive outings and was one of the reasons for their second-half collapse, and in particular, post-All-Star break.

Looking at their offensive numbers, they were 20th in offensive rating and 25th in points per game.

Right now, the Cavaliers’ steady on-ball creators consist of Darius Garland, Caris LeVert, and Collin Sexton, depending on what free agency entails. There is also the chance that the team adds another point guard off the bench as well as whoever they add with their lottery pick.

This looks good on the surface but once you dive deeper, things aren’t as glamorous. Collin Sexton is coming off a meniscus injury and despite how much of a mad man he is, it will take him some time to return to form. Caris LeVert was inconsistent at times, and it’s to be seen if a potential bench role is best for him.

The 14th overall pick shouldn’t carry too many expectations in year one and what decent point guard could the team really add with their resources?

Perhaps Tyus Jones, who has been a rumored potential non-taxpayer mid-level exception target (if they end up with that available), could be that guy. A Ricky Rubio return has long been a reported possibility, too, but it’s uncertain as to when he’ll definitively be back from his ACL tear.

All things considered, the team could look at other players for improved shot creation but where would that come from? It’s not like the team used last year’s third overall pick on a unicorn who finished second in the ROTY race, right?

Evan Mobley’s progression in Year 2 could lessen the Cavs’ need for shot creation.

What made Evan Mobley worth the third overall pick was not just his insane defensive upside or crazy length, it’s the post touch he has as a 20-year-old. It’s the ability to get to his spots in the mid-range and rise over defenders. It’s the craftiness around the rim and advanced playmaking ability as a 7-footer.

Year 1 showed why the Tim Duncan/Kevin Garnett/Chris Bosh comparisons made sense. Mobley averaged 15 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game, shooting 50.8% from the field.

Over the last 25 seasons, there have been 167 instances of a player averaging at least 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game in a season (via Stathead Basketball). Evan Mobley is tied with Kevin Garnett, Elton Brand, Anthony Davis, and Karl Anthony-Towns as the youngest players to do so.

Mobley wasted no time in improving certain aspects of his game with multiple workout videos of him surfacing throughout the offseason. One video, in particular, shows Mobley working on his three-point shot and pull-up game, with his jumper looking quicker.

Jumpshot improvements paired with his natural touch make Mobley a scary guard for next season. Of the players comparable to his rookie season, Karl Anthony-Towns, Kevin Garnett, and Anthony Davis all had about a 7-point-per-game increase in their second year. Considering how much Mobley surprised this season, an influx in scoring like that shouldn’t be that surprising.

Pair that with his rebounding, defense, and playmaking chops and he not only projects as a steady first/second option for this team but, an All-Star Game nod is very much in the running as well.

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It was said during draft night and I will say it again, the heights that this team can reach depend on Mobley’s progression as a player. With how much he’s shown so far as well as the components around him, this team has all the makings of a perennial contender.