Evan Mobley is poised to take the next step with Cavs next season

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

It’s still a bit of a shock that Evan Mobley did not win the Rookie of the Year last season, with how he was one of the crucial reasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ turnaround. Either way, I’m not going to rain on the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes’ parade, and he, similarly to Mobley, should be a difference-maker for years to come.

As for Mobley/the Cavaliers’ perspective, he had 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per game as a rookie, and he was the first Cavalier named First Team All-Rookie since Dion Waiters in 2013.

Mobley had tons of hype coming into last season, and even with that, he still exceeded expectations. Mobley, as we expressed, was one of the keys for why the Cavs had a resurgent season in 2021-22, in which they doubled their win total to have 44 wins.

Mobley himself was a player that affected games in a plethora of ways, was tremendous on the defensive end, and I thought was still impressive offensively, with his touch, what he showed with self-creation and his passing sense. Next year, I’d imagine we’ll see him all the more comfortable with more experience, too, and he seems poised to take a step forward overall.

Mobley is poised for the next step in his second season with the Cavs, and we should see him take strides in rounding out his game.

Mobley was terrific in his first year, and his defensive abilities on the perimeter, his rim protection, passing feel for a big, touch inside/in post-ups, and his basketball intelligence were all on display.

It was telling how the Cavaliers were 40-29 with Mobley last regular season, and 4-9 without him in the lineup. This is not including their two losses in the play-in tournament to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks, as an aside.

Despite the team’s late-season slide last year, albeit some due to injuries, such as to Jarrett Allen and a bit to Mobley himself, it was easy to foresee why many believe Mobley could be a superstar-caliber player in the near future. He already is such a big-time player, and next season, we should see him to take further offensive strides.

I don’t gloss over that long-term, Mobley becoming more of a viable three-point shooter could open up more of his game in other areas, for more self-creation in that sense. Mobley hit only 25.0 percent of his three-point attempts last season, of which were just 1.3 per game. In his lone season in college at USC, his deep shooting clip was 30.0 percent on 1.2 attempts per outing.

That said, over what’s seemingly been a really productive offseason for Mobley, based on their often being plenty of clips of him with the team, and with him working on things in pickup elsewhere, we should see development from him on catch-and-shoots/perimeter play next year. He’s seemed to have been working on making his deep ball more fluid, and I’d think next season, we should see his deep shot release be quicker.

But last season, it was meaningful that he demonstrated some promising mid-range ability with pull-ups at times, fadeaways a bit, and with him getting to in-rhythm floaters after getting to his spots. Those elements of his skill set will still be there to help him get going in games.

And for the team, he’s more than capable of making plays for others as a ball-mover, and next year, part of the next step along with shooting/self-creation could relate to him being utilized more as a secondary playmaker. That’d help Darius Garland and Lauri Markkanen, among others.

Mobley didn’t have eye-popping passing splits in the general sense last year, however, it’s evident that he’s a gifted passer for a 6-foot-11 player. Along with his feel and passing intuition in hitting cutters and shooters in an on-point manner, if there’s development from him over a full offseason as a ball handler to some extent, it will only help him as a driver and ball-mover.

Regarding the on-ball and playmaking development, it was nice to see that Mobley recented played pickup with Kevin Durant, along with Evan’s brother, Isaiah Mobley, for instance, via Clutch Points. Isaiah was a second-round pick last month, and is on a two-way deal next season with Cleveland, as a side note.

Anyway, with what’s appeared to have been a hell of an offseason for Evan Mobley, from a developmental perspective, he seems set to take the next step as an overall player, and he could become Cleveland’s legit #2 option. He just recently turned 21 last month, but it’s already clear that the dude is a special player and is invaluable to winning for the Cavaliers.

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If his offensive game levels up, which I believe it will, along with hopefully getting stronger after the full offseason, a potential All-Star nod even next season isn’t that lofty. Either way, I can’t wait to see what’s to come from Mobley in his second year.