Since Evan Mobley joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as the third overall pick in the 2021 Draft, he has garnered countless comparisons to legendary NBA bigs, including Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and many more.
Last season, Mobley earned a spot on NBA All-Defensive First Team in his sophomore year, a feat of historic heights for a young star. While the young stud’s defense is already suggesting a legendary career, Mobley’s offense is still under development. Mobley scored 16.2 points per game on efficient shooting, but the Cavaliers are hoping to see another leap from their developing star.
Earlier this summer, President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman suggested Mobley will have a greater offensive role this next year, playing as an offensive hub and playmaker. Clearly, Cleveland sees the potential for Mobley to be a leader on the court and take the Cavs to the next level.
This summer, Evan Mobley’s offensive improvements will be the primary focus of training. With former Miami Heat wing Max Strus now on the Cavs’ roster, Evan Mobley has reportedly begun studying film of Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo. While Mobley has earned comparisons to numerous stretch bigs, viewing Mobley as an offensive coordinator and post scorer likely makes him a better comparison to Adebayo right now than many other names.
In Miami, Bam Adebayo 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game last season. Alongside Jimmy Butler, Adebayo was one of Miami’s primary offensive leaders, coordinating their offensive attack at the top of the key, orchestrating handoffs, pick-and-rolls and finding the open man on the perimeter. It was also not unbelievable to see Adebayo taking the ball up the court for the Heat. This kind of role for Evan Mobley could maximize his unique skillset and advance his development, preparing him for a breakout season in year three.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Max Strus asked the Cavaliers’ video team to compile clips of Adebayo for Mobley to study in hopes of developing a dynamic chemistry between himself and Mobley. Not only does this show Strus’ natural basketball intelligence to realize a path to stardom for Mobley, but it also shows the unique leadership that Max Strus is showcasing in Cleveland.
Evan Mobley shows excitement for the idea, too, saying that he and Strus have been developing a two-man pick-and-roll game together since day one.
"“Just playing with him, getting to know him, me and him were good in the two-man game and pick-and-roll. He knows how to find me in the pocket when I want it, and also he’s a threat for shooting as well. That creates a lot of openings for me, and if not for me, then for him.”– Evan Mobley"
Every Cavaliers fan knows the value Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell provide on pick-and-rolls after last season with Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt. With Max Strus and Mobley practicing their own two-man game adds another layer of lethality to an already premier offense.
Cleveland’s head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently said that Strus is more than just a player to put in the corner; instead, Bickerstaff sees Strus as a high-energy motion shooter and slasher. Putting Strus and Mobley into a duo together could be the first step in putting Bickerstaff’s plans into action.
Max Strus praised Evan Mobley’s court vision and passing, believing that they are creating a foundation for both Mobley’s and Cleveland’s future success. Evan Mobley will be a dominant force on defense this season, but for him to grow significantly on offense could turn Mobley from a growing star to a perennial All-Star and a force to reckon with.
Bickerstaff sees the vision for Mobley as a team leader and All-Star big. He does not expect to see Mobley a defense-only player this season, believing Mobley will become a multi-faceted player for the Cavaliers.
"“With more usage, as we plan on, he can flirt with triple doubles because of his skillset and that’s extremely impactful. We’re not looking at Evan as a one-dimensional player where it has to be score, score, score, score, score. It’s Evan Mobley. He can dominate a game by having a complete impact on both sides of the ball.”– J.B. Bickerstaff"
A large portion of discussion around Mobley’s offensive growth has surrounded outside shooting. So far in his career, Mobley has only shot a dismal 23.2 percent from 3-point range. Expecting a substantial leap from beyond the arc in year three would be a miraculous development; however, Evan Mobley has already displayed fantastic courtvision talent since his rookie season. Thus, following a Bam Adebayo path could be a more realistic leap for next year.
It is unlikely Mobley will become the league’s best offensive big overnight, but Mobley’s offseason film study and training with Max Strus shows that Cleveland sees what Mobley can be, rather than trying to force him into a development path that does not suit his current strengths.