The notable selection for the Cleveland Cavaliers to come from last week’s 2022 NBA Draft was Ochai Agbaji, who was taken with Cleveland’s late lottery pick. Agbaji looks to have the makings of a knockdown catch-and-shoot threat that could provide valuable spacing for others, and knock down some movement looks.
Following Agbaji, Cleveland would go on to make three second-round selections, with two of those players being draft-and-stash prospects in Khalifa Diop at #39 and Luke Travers at #56. With Cleveland’s #49 pick, in which they acquired via trade earlier on Thursday during the day in leading up to the draft via trade with the Sacramento Kings, the Wine and Gold took Isaiah Mobley.
Isaiah is the brother of Evan Mobley, the runner-up for the 2022 Rookie of the Year, and Isaiah is a player that could be a rotational big down the road, seemingly upon further development. He came back for his junior season at USC this past season, and showed more on the offensive end in a featured role, and some nice catch-and-shoot signs.
Now, it’s reportedly likely that this second-round selection in Mobley will probably have his deal be that of the two-way variety, per Jason Lloyd of The Athletic (subscription required). I would understand the Cavaliers going that route, from a roster numbers’ standpoint, and I’d have thought Mobley could get some real meaningful time with the Cavaliers G League affiliate, the Cleveland (formerly Canton) Charge, anyway.
Allen and Love could both make a difference for Mobley in his development with the Cavs.
I’m not diminishing Evan Mobley in this sense, but Allen and Love are other voices that should resonate with Isaiah Mobley.
Allen is a player fresh off a career season with 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest, and he’s emerged as an interior force even more so since his trade arrival last season from the Brooklyn Nets.
Allen can help Mobley with his interior defensive positioning, as a shot alterer, similarly to Evan Mobley, but Allen can also help Mobley’s development against stronger interior players, given his strength and how he’s gradually added muscle throughout his years in the league.
Plus, I would think Allen can assist Mobley, as he seemingly did his brother as a rookie, as a defensive communicator. Allen is the primary anchor for Cleveland defensively, to that point.
Along with that, with what Allen has shown on the interior in recent seasons offensively, in how he’s added to his game with low-post polish, touch on push shots and as a cutter, he could pass down some of that to Mobley, too. Not to mention, his screening timing and rolling prowess, also.
From there, Kevin Love could help Mobley primarily in his progression as a catch-and-shoot threat.
Amid a shift to a key bench shooting role this past season, Love led the Cavaliers in three-pointers made with 187, which was the third-most made by a Cav in a single season. He would go on to average 13.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 22.5 minutes per contest.
Love is not the player he once was, however, when healthy (and yes, I get he’s had a ton of injuries), like last season, he’s been a sniper for Cleveland. He even finished second in voting for the Sixth Man of the Year in 2021-22, for context.
Mobley is a player that in his past two seasons at USC, has shown some encouraging catch-and-shoot signs, and last season, with an expanded offensive role, hit 35.2 percent of his 3.8 triple attempts per contest. He tacked on 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per outing, for what it’s worth.
It’s going to take more development, clearly, but being around Love in training camp, I’d assume, and during next season, should help Isaiah’s perimeter shooting, via catch-and-shoots, and perhaps via pick-and-pops down the road.
Anyway, though I’m not discounting the brother factor in this sense, even despite him reportedly likely to be a two-way player, at least to begin next season, Mobley should benefit from Allen and Love’s veteran qualities and leadership.
Looking onward, the Cavs could be onto something with this (other) Mobley pick, too.