Report: Cavs’ front office believed team could make playoffs after drafting Evan Mobley

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ drafting of Evan Mobley in July was something that the team’s front office believed was pivotal to the organization’s playoff hopes this season.

Terry Pluto of assessed the Cavaliers’ season thus far and pointed out that following the drafting of Mobley, the team’s front office believed Cleveland could make the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

“It was going to take the Cavs at least five years – if not more – to get to the playoffs had [LeBron] James not come back,” Pluto wrote. “But this time around, there are legitimate reasons to believe they can reach the playoffs this season. The front office thought so after drafting Evan Mobley; then the schedule arrived: Playing 8-of-11 games on the road to open the season. That was almost set up to demoralize a young team.”

In each of the previous three seasons, there had been some hope that the Cavaliers could at least contend for a playoff berth. Such projections proved to be woefully inaccurate, with the Cavaliers managing to win a total of just 60 games over those three campaigns.

The 20-year-old Mobley has more than lived up to the promise of being the third overall section in the 2021 NBA Draft. In 19 games this season, he’s averaged 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.9 blocks per game.

Mobley has been able to quickly bounce back after being sidelined for four games due to injury, and he has played a key role in the Cavaliers’ 13-10 start.

One indication of just how valuable Mobley has become can be seen in the fact that the Cavaliers lost all four games in which he didn’t play. The Cavs have won four straight games since Mobley’s return.

Mobley’s next chance to polish his credentials for the NBA Rookie of the Year award comes on Sunday afternoon, when the Cavaliers host the Utah Jazz.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.