All Hail Evan Mobley

All Hail Evan Mobley

Drew Thirion
2 years ago
1 min read
All Hail Evan Mobley

I was recently listening to a podcast on the history of sports where they said visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame is like a religious experience for agnostic sports junkies. I’m a pretty religious person myself, but I feel that same sort of way watching Evan Mobley play basketball. 

Since Mobley’s return from injury, the Cavs are 2-0 and have won both of these games by a combined total of 31 points. Mobley hasn’t put up eye-popping numbers in his return, only averaging 12.5 points and 8 rebounds per game, with the lowest +/- of any starter. However, just looking at box scores doesn’t tell the whole story. 

The biggest change since Mobley’s return is the defense. From a basic standpoint, the Cavs gave up 112.5 points per game without Mobley, and have only given up only 94 ppg since his return. Of course, the Cavs faced the Warriors, Suns, and the Nets twice without Mobley, but what really stood out to me was opponent field goal percentages in his absence. 

Suns: 49.4%

Warriors: 49.4%

Nets: 46.6%

So how did the Mavs and Magic shoot against Cleveland?

Dallas: 43.8%

Orlando: 39.8%

With Mobley on the court, teams shoot fewer shots in the paint and struggle in the pick and roll. The rest of the Cavs are okay defenders but can be given much smaller roles and can be far more aggressive in man-to-man sets. Cleveland’s defensive rating with Mobley on the floor is 104.5. When he’s not out there, the average goes up by an insane 12 points, which is dead last in the league. It’s no surprise that every starter on the Cavs is having career highs in defensive ratings this year. 

Mobley’s offense is still a huge work in progress, but his impact is unmatched by any rookie from this class. Scottie Barnes has been great this year, but the gap between him and Mobley is the size of the Grand Canyon. Unless injuries arise, the Rookie of the Year should be Evan Mobley’s. 

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