Selected with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, USC big man Evan Mobley is a perfect fit for where the modern NBA is heading.
As an extremely versatile two-way prospect who can anchor a team on both ends of the floor, Mobley will help lead a new era in Cleveland alongside Darius Garland as a tantalizing inside-out duo. BasketballNews.com draft analyst Derek Murray spoke about how Mobley will fit with the Cavs long-term.
What role do you envision for Mobley next season?
Mobley’s immediate role will be heavily impacted by Cleveland’s decision surrounding Jarett Allen. I do think that because of Mobley’s versatility, you can actually play them together, but it would be nice to let the young big have the floor to himself. Centers generally take a while to develop into their true selves at the NBA level, so I hope Mobley gets some freedom to explore various facets of his game. Let him handle the ball and stretch the floor, even if it takes some time and growing pains to get there. I believe getting Mobley on that development track early is important.
How does Mobley fit alongside Cleveland’s young core of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Isaac Okoro and Collin Sexton?
Garland, Okoro, and Mobley is a tremendous starting point for a franchise. Three young guys who love the game and want to win very badly — it’s exactly what you want. I do not expect Sexton to be there for the long-haul, but looking at the other three guys excites me. Garland and Okoro can both provide rim pressure on the offensive side, opening up the floor for Mobley to do his thing. Mobley is also one of the most impactful defenders we have seen in years, so he and Okoro on the same floor could turn into a nightmare to try and score on.
What’s Mobley’s max-ceiling outcome?
If it clicks for Evan Mobley, we are likely looking at a top-five player in the world. His combination of size, length, and mobility are just the start. This young man has incredible touch and has flashed an ability to stretch the floor, which (at his size) makes him a unicorn. And that’s not even discussing the defense yet, where he absolutely owns the paint and protects the rim as well as any young player we have seen. If his processing speed can adjust to the NBA level, there might not be a limit to what Mobley can do.