Evan Mobley's return is a necessity for the Cavaliers
In his 21 games this season, Evan Mobley is averaging 16 points with a career-high in rebounds (10.5), blocks (1.7 - tied) and assists (2.9). Additionally, Mobley has shot 76.9 percent from the free throw line, the best of his career. His offensive game is not going to catapult him into MVP conversations, but his mid-range jumper has begun to drop while his inside presence continues to command attention from opposing teams.
Thus far, Cleveland's best offensive five-man lineup that has appeared in at least five games this season has featured Evan Mobley at the center spot with four shooters around him, those being Max Strus, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Caris LeVert with a net rating of 39.3. Since his draft night, Mobley has been viewed as a long-term center, but the Cavs are so reliant on Jarrett Allen's defense that they have not broken up the duo.
As it is now, though, Mobley looks best and plays best with as much floor spacing as the Cavs can provide. Once Mobley is back, the Cavaliers need to capitalize on his value as a facilitator and initiator. He is the only player to be featured in all of Cleveland's seven-best lineups (minimum five games played). He is the team's formula for success, and this is the season to make that the top priority.
This past week, Mobley only played once. His performance was not spectacular, but his disappearance might be the most telling sign of Cleveland's flaws. When Mobley is unavailable, the Cavaliers do not have a good enough frontcourt to survive against a good, healthy squad. As much as Dean Wade and Niang provide, Jarrett Allen cannot compensate for the lost defense or offensive intelligence that Mobley brings every game.
There is no definite timetable for Mobley's return, but this season is proving the worth of the young big man for the Cavs' future.