Cavs’ Evan Mobley should be studying the game of these 3 legends

Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Evan Mobley is a player whose stock is assuredly on the rise for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s only 21, but his defensive skill set knows few rivals. His frame needs to get stronger and have his offense catch up, but he is coming.

In year two, Mobley earned Defensive First Team honors and was the 20th player in history to do it.

There is no doubt Mobley will soon turn into a premier player, but it seems there is more pressure for it to happen now. The Cavaliers’ timeline moved up a year or two after adding Donovan Mitchell to the core via trade. In 2022-2023, the squad had its first 50+ win season and first playoff entry since LeBron James left for Lakerland in 2018.

Yet, the campaign ended abruptly in five games at the hands of the Knickerbockers. The Cavs weren’t ready physically or mentally, but the pain of defeats like that is usually the best teacher.

Next offseason (after the 2023-2024 campaign), Mobley will be eligible for a rookie extension that he should instantly get. Although, it will limit future roster flexibility because Garland, Mitchell and Jarrett Allen are all under contract for hefty dollars.

But that’s a year away. In a perfect world, apart from offseason training, Mobley would study the tape of three legends, two of the past and the last still active in his prime.

No. 1: Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld set ferocious legal screens to get himself and others open, plus he was an artist passing the ball. His outlet dimes that sparked fastbreaks were a weapon that only maximum hustle and length could disrupt.

The Cavaliers have the personnel, despite being the slowest team in the league, to play much quicker, and it can start with Mobley having more offensive liberties. In his two years as a Cav, Mobley recovered an average of 6.4 defensive rebounds per game. This number will climb, but I’d like to see more possessions of No. 4 tracking a miss and the backcourt players instinctually going deep like wideouts.

The Cavaliers had the lowest number of possessions in the league at 7,972. More outlet passes would appeal to the eye, and I predict teammates would enjoy working with a guy who can make that read. Mitchell and Darius Garland are certified scorers in the halfcourt. They’d be even more dangerous in the open court with one to none defenders in front.

Using the outlet is a surefire action to playing faster because the pass is always swifter than a man.