Cavs need Evan Mobley to be assertive from the jump in Year 3

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

In his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Evan Mobley got better on the offensive end as the year wore on.

There were some bumps in the road on offense in the first couple of months, really, for Mobley, before he picked things up. When the calendar flipped to the 2023 portion of the schedule, there was a production uptick for him.

Mobley had 17.5 points per game in his last 43 regular season appearances of the 2022-23 season on 55.3 percent shooting. He tacked on 9.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest in that span, too.

What paid dividends for him in the second half of this now-past season was how Mobley was seemingly more aggressive in getting to his spots, and him reportedly working extensively on getting stronger over that time made a difference.

Now, Mobley did not have a great first round series on offense versus the New York Knicks in Cleveland’s frustrating loss to them in five games, and he has to progress as a shooter outside the paint. That, from Mobley, has to come ideally for him and Jarrett Allen’s long term viability on offense, at least.

Having said that, it’s imperative that going forward Mobley is consistently assertive offensively in getting to his looks, establishing a rhythm and in turn, helping the Cavaliers be more dynamic.

Mobley needs to be assertive from the jump for the Cavs in Year 3.

In that playoff series loss to the Knicks, Mobley did not carry forward the offensive success he had going in the second half, and even more so, closing stretch of the regular season.

Playoff physicality had some to do with that it seemed, and Mobley looked somewhat out of sorts on that end of the floor. It wasn’t all on him, and for then a 21-year-old big in his first playoff series, it wasn’t the most concerning thing in the world. Cleveland’s playmakers had their issues, too, for what it’s worth.

That said, it’s apparent that in Mobley’s third year with the Cavs, he has to be getting going earlier on offensively. Last season, as we touched on, Mobley started slower on that end, and naturally, with the trade arrival of Donovan Mitchell, there were going to be some growing pains within the group on that end.

This next season, though, the chemistry with Mitchell should be much better, and if Cleveland can add shooting in free agency and/or trade this offseason, which would seem to have a high likelihood, that should only help Mobley’s growth offensively.

Granted, as we mentioned, Mobley has to demonstrate more tangible shooting growth outside the paint to level up on offense in his third year, and has to build on mid-range flashes from this now-past season.

Whether or not the catch-and-shoot development from three-point range is there in 2023-24, if he can mix in some more pull-ups and make more plays from the mid-post early on in the season, that could pay off for him as a finisher as well. Of course, if Mobley’s handle can be tightened up from a productive offseason, where he can keep adding some more muscle hopefully, those things should have a positive impact for the young big, too.

Overall, however, if Mobley is assertive and is making a concerted effort to make his presence felt as a scorer, mixed in with his sound off-ball play offensively early next season, that could assure he’s on his way to a highly-anticipated third-year leap. For this Cleveland team to get to contender status, Mobley does have to be an integral part of that, regarding his offense being more rounded out.

Cleveland has to add more shooting, and one would imagine they will, but Mobley has to be assertive from the outset of the 2023-24 season on offense, too. And if that’s what plays out, his playmaking abilities could be unlocked more, which could open up more layers for the Cavs on that end of the floor.

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We know Mobley is an elite defender, and was already given NBA All-Defensive First Team honors in just his second season. If it seems he’s in line for a noticeable offensive leap early on next season, though, that could definitely ensure he’s on the road to superstardom so many believe he’s destined for.