The Cleveland Cavaliers have an Evan Mobley problem, and they need to fix it now

The Cleveland Cavaliers cannot keep ignoring Evan Mobley's potential next season.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Cavaliers know what Donovan Mitchell can bring to the team, but the perennial All-Star will not define the heights the modern Cavs era can reach.

More than any other player on the team, Cleveland growing star Evan Mobley's development will determine whether the Cavaliers will ever reach true contention status. Thus far in his career, Mobley has distinguished himself as an elite defensive talent, earning NBA All-Defensive First Team in his second season. This past season, Mobley's two-way efficiency slid due to an unfortunate bout with injuries for the first time in his young career.

Despite continued defensive excellence, the Cavaliers must discover Mobley's offensive ceiling to reach their peak as a team. Unfortunately, Mobley has only shown glimpses of an elite offensive threat, but he has yet to build enough consistency to elevate Cleveland. Following a six-week absence recovering from a knee surgery, Mobley returned to the Cavs with a newfound confidence and talent from beyond the three-point arc. He finished the year with his best three-point percentage of his career, reaching 37.3 on 1.2 attempts per game. The year prior, he shot 21.6 percent on 1.3 attempts each night.

Cavaliers fans quickly took notice to Mobley's improved jumpshot but hoped to see an increase in volume. If Cleveland can unlock a high-volume scoring Mobley from inside and outside the post, they will enter the realm of the Eastern Conference's most fearsome competitors. While the ideal concept of Mobley increasing his volume and continuing his efficiency, reality demands a substantial change in culture and gameplan to expand Mobley's production.

Unless the Cavs take action to commit to Mobley's development, his lacking offensive growth will continue to hamper Cleveland's competitive potential.

The Cavaliers created an Evan Mobley problem and must prioritize him this offseason

When Evan Mobley has sparked offensively, he has shown more than a really good big man. At Evan's best, he is a dominant two-way threat. The inconsistency in Mobley's prowess is not caused by his lacking confidence or poor decision making. Through three years, Mobley has displayed high intelligence as a passer on the high post or elbow. When Mobley is in the right position, he can utilize his passing to complement above average ballhandling and scoring. The Cavaliers have yet to maximize Mobley's talent, forcing him into an unnatural position and diminishing his value.

Since Mobley's rookie season, his averages have stayed fairly stagnant. He has averaged 15, 16.2 and 15.7 points per game, respectively. His rebounding hovered above a double-digit average this year before sliding at the end of the year. Last regular season, Mobley recorded his most efficient scoring year, reaching a 60 efficient field goal percentage and a 122 offensive rating. While Mobley has grown his efficiency and taken advantage of his chances more, the Cavaliers have failed to increase his role and opportunities.

Last summer, Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman stated Mobley would have a larger role in the team's offense, but it never came to fruition. When healthy, Mobley's usage rate was 20.6 percent, only 0.2 percent higher than his rookie season. His field goal attempts dropped to a career-low 9.9 attempts per game. With such high praise and expectations, the Cavs' inability to utilize Mobley is unacceptable.

Thus far, the Cavaliers have recognized Mobley's immense talent but have failed to complement him. Instead, they have ignored placing Mobley in a position to establish his place on the team and in the Association. It is no surprise that Mobley's most efficient season was also the year he spent the highest percentage of his minutes as the lone big man on the court. Mobley split his time at power forward and center nearly in half, playing 47 percent of the time as the center.

Evan Mobley is a center, and everybody knows it except Cleveland

Per Chris Fedor of, there is a widespread belief that Mobley is the ultimate long-term answer at center for the Cavaliers. Somehow, Cleveland's front office has become the last person to receive the memo.

Cleveland's five best lineups to play at least 48 minutes together during the regular season only featured one big man with four perimeter threats surrounding. Currently, there is little point in repeating details covered so heavily regarding the Cavs' frontcourt. There is no denying that the best versions of both Mobley and Jarrett Allen are without their counterpart on the floor. Still, recent reports suggest the Cavaliers are reluctant to split the tandem up. Though Altman's may only have been to avoid diminishing Allen's trade value among competitors, Cleveland cannot afford to waste another year of Evan Mobley's development in a tiring, fruitless effort to jam Mobley into the wrong role.

On the biggest stage of Mobley's career thus far, the young big shined as Cleveland's sole big man in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Mobley had the 10th highest average of any player in the second round of the playoffs with 21.4 on 62.7 percent from the field with 9.4 rebounds and one block, too.

With a litany of injuries plaguing the Cavs, Mobley's frontcourt partner in the second round went from the 6-foot-9-inch Allen to Isaac Okoro at 6-foot 4-inches. The best version of Mobley does not need a second interior defender at his side, but the Cavaliers refuse to implement any changes to complement him.

To this point in EvanMobley's career, the Cleveland Cavaliers have failed his development, and it is limiting the team's overall ceiling. Despite building a case for MVP before being disqualified due to injuries, Donovan Mitchell's supporting cast has not been maximized by the Cavs' front office. Changing this starts with building a contender around Mobley as the second option, not the third or fourth.

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