Erik Spoelstra heaps heavy praise upon Evan Mobley ahead of Cavs-Heat matchup

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra referenced his own basketball playing career while praising Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley, thanks to a unique family connection.

Spoelstra played collegiately at the University of Portland with Eric Mobley, the father of the Cavs’ young standout, more than three decades ago. The size differential noted by Spoelstra is five inches, based on the younger Mobley’s current listed height of 6-foot-11.

The younger Mobley has had a standout rookie campaign for the Cavaliers after the team selected him with the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Offering the Cavs a consistent presence in the frontcourt, the younger Mobley has also been one of the key reasons why the team has had a resurgence this season.

Starting in all of his 57 games this season for the Cavaliers, the younger Mobley is averaging 14.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. In contrast, the elder Mobley put up more modest numbers.

While the Cavaliers currently have the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference, they’re just five games behind the conference-best Heat entering Friday’s game

Spoelstra’s look back was only a brief one, considering he’s trying to keep the Heat thriving with one month left in the 2021-22 regular season.

Entering their Friday night game against the Cavaliers, the Heat have a 44-23 record, two games better than the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. The contest against the Cavaliers is the fourth game in their seven-game home stand.

The younger Mobley has no doubt impressed many other NBA coaches in his short time in the league. However, none have the distinction of playing with the elder Mobley.

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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.