Last year for the Cleveland Cavaliers, former USC big man Evan Mobley looked amazing. Yes, his stats looked similar from his rookie season to his sophomore season, but the eye test said otherwise. He looked stronger, had more awareness on defense, and had a better touch on offense.
Yes, his blocks per game went down, and his fouls per game went up from his rookie season. Even so, he did make All-Defensive First Team, and for great reasons. The Cavs had the best defensive rating in the whole league, boasting a 110.6 rating. One of the main reasons for this rating was Mobley, as well as his frontcourt partner, Jarrett Allen.
Also, in terms of defensive rating, Mobley was tied for second place with a 108.1 rating. Funnily enough, the player he’s tied with for second place was Jarrett Allen. Mobley’s rating was higher than Brook Lopez, Jaren Jackson Jr., as well as Joel Embiid. This just shows that Mobley is already an exceptional defender, and he’s only 22 years old!
Mobley’s accolades already are impressive when considering his age, as he already has an All-Rookie First Team appearance (even though he deserved Rookie of the Year, and not second place), as well as an All-Defensive First Team appearance. Being an All-Defensive player at that age (then 21) is not common, so seeing that for Mobley is incredible.
There is one thing that I’m sure Mobley would like to add to his accolades to keep progressing as a player. Being an All-Star. Being an All-Star isn’t easy, but considering the progress he’s already made, that is totally possible for Mobley to be in the conversation next season.
Mobley ranked 14th in the 2023 All-Star voting for Eastern Conference frontcourt players, which was disrespectful. Players like Nic Claxton, Kyle Kuzma, and Paolo Banchero were all ahead of him, and I personally think that Mobley is better than all three of those players.
I did not think he was going to be an All-Star last year, as the competition for frontcourt players in the Eastern Conference was tough, and all the Eastern Conference frontcourt players who made the All-Star team were better than him last season.
How can Evan Mobley make the All-Star game, then?
Mobley has all the talent and potential in the world to become an NBA legend, and might be one of the NBA’s greatest defenders of all time. He has many years ahead of him, when it comes to his NBA career, so making an All-Star game someday isn’t far-fetched.
For this example, I am going to use a certain NBA player who made the All-Star team last year, and compare his stats to Mobley’s. Last season, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. was an All-Star for the first time in his young career.
Jackson Jr. averaged 18.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, as well as a league-high 3.0 blocks per game. Also, Jackson Jr. is a quality 3-point shooter, as he shot 35.5 percent from distance as a 7’0″ power forward.
Also, Jackson Jr. won Defensive Player of the Year, beating out both Brook Lopez and Mobley himself. Jackson Jr.’s defense is one of the league’s best, and that’s one of the biggest reasons that he made the All-Star team last year.
Looking at Mobley’s stats last year, he averaged 16.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. Looking at the stats, I’d give the slight edge to Jackson Jr., but the stats aren’t necessarily that far apart. Both are very great players in their own right, but considering Jackson Jr. made the All-Star team last year, there’s no reason that Mobley can’t do the same next year.
What does Mobley need to do to be better? He has to get a better jumpshot, realistically. His jumper has a really slow release, and that probably needs to be fixed if he wants to be a respected 3-point shooter.
Also, Mobley needs to get more touches inside the paint, at minimum. He’s a quality post player, as he has a great hook shot, as well as a solid post fadeaway. His playmaking as a big man is actually really impressive as well, and next season, he should seemingly have more playmaking opportunities. His defense is similar, he does not need to get a lot better at that to be an effective NBA player.
All in all, Evan Mobley is a tremendous player, with loads of potential. If he makes the All-Star team next season, it probably will be the first of numerous appearances. I, for one, am excited to see what Mobley’s future holds in the NBA.