2 things Evan Mobley still has to prove this season with Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Oklahoma City Thunder
Cleveland Cavaliers v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
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The Cavaliers need Evan Mobley to raise the bar in the playoffs

After the age of superteams has passed in the NBA, overall parity has taken hold. No playoff matchup will be a cake walk for the Cavaliers, but they cannot afford another postseason humiliation after last year's decimation to the New York Knicks.

The most obvious reason the Cavs cannot allow themselves to shy away from the playoffs is Donovan Mitchell's looming extension and the consequences following his decisions. In truth, though, nobody in Cleveland elevated themselves in the playoffs last season, including Mitchell. While Mitchell was imperfect, it does not negate the need for Mobley to establish himself as a playoff performer.

After averaging 16.2 points efficiently last regular season, Mobley's scoring nearly halved to 9.8 points on 45.8 percent from the field in the five-game series with New York. It was his first experience in the playoffs, and the Knicks were clearly positioned to benefit from the Cavs' lack of postseason experience in both the roster and coaching staff. Additionally, the Knicks' physical play may have received exponentially more foul calls in a regular season match, but the playoffs are an entirely different beast that Mobley had not prepared to overcome.

In his second opportunity, the Cavaliers are in better shape to win a seven-game series. With Max Strus and Georges Niang offering veteran playoff leadership and improved floor spacing, Mobley will play alongside a supporting cast that complements his upsides and covers his downsides. Upon his return, Mobley will need to spend the rest of the season refining himself for the postseason.

One element that was a struggle for Mobley against New York was rebounding, especially on the offensive boards. To his credit, Mobley has steadily grown as an offensive rebounder this year, averaging 2.7, placing him in the top 20 in the NBA for that statistic. His frontcourt running mate Jarrett Allen ranks fifth overall at 3.5, suggesting the Cavaliers will be more competitive in rebounding this time.

Even though Evan Mobley is not an era-defining superstar for the Cleveland Cavaliers in his third year, he has shown true improvement this season. Some development has been marginal, but Mobley still has plenty of time to prove that he can reach his ceiling. He has shown he can elevate, making the prospects of what Evan Mobley's prime will be limitless.

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