Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 things to watch for in preseason opener

Cleveland Cavaliers, Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers, Jarrett Allen. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Evan Mobley
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images /

No. 2: How has Evan Mobley grown?

The idea that Evan Mobley somehow plateaued last season is fairly ludicrous. A strong rookie season led to the hype machine getting somewhat out of control for Mobley heading into his second season, and he didn’t suddenly average 20 points, 10 boards and four blocks while draining 3-pointers and making an All-NBA team; if that’s the measuring stick, he didn’t get there.

Yet in just his second season Mobley was named to the All-Defense First Team, finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and was the best defender on the league’s No. 1 defense. He was an excellent rim protector, could switch onto the perimeter, and was truly lethal in space.

The question now turns to the offense. What steps will Mobley take on that end of the court? He likely doesn’t have the trajectory of someone like Chris Bosh or Kevin Garnett as a No. 1 option breaking down defenses, but he also doesn’t need to be that guy on this team. He does need to improve as a passer, both on the short roll and in dribble-handoff situations. Studying tape of Bam Adebayo, one of the best passing big men in the league, is a great step on that path.

Will Mobley add a reliable 3-point jumpshot? That would make his pairing with Allen even more sustainable than it is now and give the Cavaliers all sorts of lineup versatility. How does Mobley improve as a finisher, as an offensive rebounder, as a scoring threat from floater range? The young player has been impressive at every step thus far; what did he add this offseason?