Can Evan Mobley sustain his offensive evolution with Cleveland Cavaliers?

Sacramento Kings v Cleveland Cavaliers
Sacramento Kings v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Once Evan Mobley was ruled out with an injury back in the middle of December, there was worry that the Cleveland Cavaliers would slip down the standings without their All-Defensive big man. Darius Garland was slated to miss over a month with an injury as well.

Fortunately for the Cavaliers, their team thrived without two of their best players. They had one of the league's best records and are now sitting as the second seed in the Eastern Conference. In Mobley's absence, Dean Wade stepped in and provided the Cavs with a solid defender and floor spacer.

Looking at Dean Wade, he is a prototypical stretch four but is also a solid perimeter defender. He is not the kind of outstanding defender that Mobley is, but his switchability on defense has been invaluable to Cleveland. Wade helped the Cavaliers establish a new offensive game plan centered around passing and three-point shooting, a key element that they Mobley had yet to add to his game.

Dean Wade is shooting 39.8 percent from beyond the arc this season, making him one of the best shooters on the team. He has developed into a serious catch-and-shoot threat from anywhere and is more than capable of moving off-ball. Sam Merrill and Max Strus joined Wade to help the Cavs' success with their off-ball movement.

Evan Mobley is making the offensive leap for the Cavaliers

Evan Mobley eventually returned from knee surgery on January 29 on a minute restriction. The Cavs defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 118-108 behind Mobley's 10 points and nine rebounds in only 21 minutes of action.

Over his early career, Mobley has not been an incredible offensive talent. He can score points, but for the most part, those buckets come around the rim or in the paint. While he can make the occasional mid-range shot, he's limited in some ways in the scoring department. Considering he shot 25.0 percent from deep as a rookie and then 21.6 percent the next season, there was worry that he and Jarrett Allen could not co-exist on the floor.

When Mobley came back from injury, he changed that narrative. He started shooting beyond the arc, connecting on seven of his 13 three-point attempts in the last eight games. This includes his performance against the San Antonio Spurs, going 3-of-3 in a blowout victory for the Cavs. He has achieved a career-best 39.1 percent from distance on 0.8 attempts per game.

Considering he's already a phenomenal defender, adding a jump shot to his game can make him indispensable to this Cavs squad. It seems that he has worked on his shot during his absence, and his shot looks more fluid and a bit quicker as well.

With all of that being said, is it sustainable? Hot streaks from distance are common, as sometimes players can get hot and then cool off. Can Evan Mobley keep hitting shots from the three-point line? Even in college, Mobley was not a floor spacer. He shot 30 percent from distance in his lone season at USC. He also shot 69.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Looking at Mobley's free throws, he has steadily improved from the charity stripe, and this type of growth suggests a realistic chance to sustain his production from the arc. As Mobley gets more comfortable with his shooting form in general, he can naturally progress into the stretch forward the Cavs hope he will be.

Mobley shot 66.3 percent from the line as a rookie and 67.4 percent the next year. Currently, he is shooting 76.5 percent from the charity stripe. That is a great sign of things to come. Increased efficiency like that is another step forward for the Cavs, as in theory, it should show that he can hit outside shots eventually.

So in conclusion, yes Evan Mobley's three-point shooting can be sustainable. Close to 40.0 percent from deep, though, might not be sustainable. Nobody should expect to see Mobley competing in the three-point contest any time soon, but he has nonetheless shown a sudden massive leap forward as the Cavs approach another playoff berth.

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