For the Cleveland Cavaliers, their top three options look to be Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley going into next season, and all three are tone-setters in their own rights for the Cavaliers.
Mitchell had a career year in his first year with Cleveland in 2022-23, which resulted in him making All-NBA Second Team, and he’s established himself as one of the league’s best scoring guards. He’s in line for another big year in 2023-24.
In Garland’s case, his playmaking, vision, and wide-ranging scoring abilities make him one of the driving forces for the Cavaliers as well, and in Year 5, they should know what they’re getting from him.
Regarding Mobley, he has to fine-tune some things offensively, and hopefully can improve his shooting and find more consistency on offense from here. For Cleveland to really launch themselves into contention status, Mobley has take that next step to level up on offense, to pair with his already-incredible defensive skill set.
Even with Mobley needing to show continued growth offensively, what’s fair to claim, is that the Cavaliers have three big-time talents in Mitchell, Garland and Mobley, and Jarrett Allen is no slouch as a two-way interior presence with them.
But, as for the Big Three with Mitchell, Garland and Mobley, it was noteworthy to see how they were recently among the “honorable mention” group by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, as it pertained to the NBA’s five best trios right now. That took into account success with the three players on the floor for each trios’ respective teams, and projections of their development.
Here’s some of what Swartz said about the Cavs in that aspect.
"“Mitchell had the best season of his career with the Cavs (28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 38.6 percent from three), Garland’s production hardly slipped even with adding Mitchell (21.6 points, 7.8 assists, 41.0 percent from three), and Mobley put up 18.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks over his final 38 contests.Add in some extra floor-spacing thanks to free agency and a round of playoff experience, and this core should be even better this season.”"
The Cavs’ trio is on the rise, but plenty hinges on a Mobley leap next season.
Garland and Mitchell have to build on their past regular season, and realistically, be better next postseason in leading Cleveland. Both are more than capable of doing so, though, and Garland’s first playoff experience should be meaningful, and the same goes for Mobley and plenty of the Cavaliers group, which is still largely a young one.
However, it’s evident for the Cavs to make a deep playoff run and cement themselves as contenders, Mobley has to take an offensive leap in his third year.
As Swartz mentioned above, Mobley did have increased offensive splits in the second half of the 2022-23 regular season, and in that time, his assertiveness, touch in the paint and playmaking growth all factored into his success. Him reportedly focusing on the weight room plenty in that stretch paid dividends for him in mid and low-post situations, as a roller and in switchout situations, and there were flashes from him in the mid-range as well.
He’ll have to build on that from last season, as unfortunately, Mobley did not have much offensive success in Cleveland’s disappointing first round loss to the New York Knicks.
Next season, Mobley has to demonstrate more tangible growth as a shooter outside of the paint, and demonstrate more progression with his handle to be more consistent as a shot creation presence. And he has to be more efficient from the free throw line to make defenses pay, too, as last season, he shot 67.4 percent from the stripe.
There have been plenty of promising games from Mobley to indicate a leap could definitely be coming next season, but he’ll have to go out and prove that. If he can, paired with his already elite defense, the 22-year-old big man could be on the path to superstardom.
If a leap is in-store for Evan Mobley, it will only help out Garland and Mitchell, and the Cavaliers as a whole, more.
Cleveland’s young core group is a very talented one; it’s just abundantly clear that Mobley has to be the key, and with some helpful additions, hopefully that makes a difference for him, Garland and Mitchell.