The Cleveland Cavaliers believe to have found a gem in Evan Mobley through his work ethic, skills, and desire to guard the best opposing players. After just one year in the NBA, Mobley has been putting his own stamp on the Association after emerging as a Rookie of the Year candidate.
At age 21, the Cavaliers coaching staff has noticed the improvement each time around in practice for Mobley, which is what led assistant coach Greg Buckner to expect his young star center’s jersey to be hung up in the rafters when it’s said and done.
“He has the skill level to be a Hall of Famer,” Buckner told cleveland.com. “I tell him, ‘I want to remind you every day that when you get finished with this game, you are going to be a Hall of Famer and if you’re not, you let your body down, you didn’t reach your full potential.”
In his rookie season, Mobley, along with All-Star Darius Garland, led the Cavs to a 44-38 record, a winning mark they hadn’t been done since LeBron James was in Cleveland in 2018. The 7 footer was scoring effectively last season, averaging 15 points and shooting over 50 percent from the field. Still, head coach J.B Bickerstaff sees Mobley reliability on other areas of the floor.
“He has the ability to be a superstar without being the leading scorer,” said Bickerstaff. “…Very few superstars, which he’s going to work his way to be, can be that type of player without dominating the ball on the offensive end of the floor. We believe he has the ability, and we’ll get there.”
Mobley, who was All-Rookie First Team last season, even had the chance to train with Kevin Durant this summer.
“This offseason when I got in the gym, I was really focused on what I needed to work on for the upcoming season,” Mobley said. “Every single rep was very intentional…He [Durant] would go at me, and I would go at him. We were just working on our games. He told me that he liked my game. It challenges you.”
With superstar Donovan Mitchell coming over to the Land, high expectations ride the shoes of Mobley and Garland to keep the same level of play they had last season. If Mobley is any better than he was last season, they’ll likely be the team to beat in the East.
Photo via Getty Images.