J.B. Bickerstaff’s fascinating response when asked whether he views Evan Mobley as a 4 or 5

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley is currently playing center in place of the injured Jarrett Allen.

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff doesn’t want to put the youngster in a box, however. He gave a very telling response recently after being asked whether he sees Mobley as a 4 or 5.

“He’s a basketball player,” Bickerstaff said. “I think there’s a generation of positionless talent. We see that more on the perimeter with smaller 6-6 to 6-8 guys and you see teams trying to fill their roster with those types. I think Evan happens to be that positionless player at 7-feet tall.

“I think as his career goes on, you’ll be able to see him used in different matchups, in different ways. It’s funny, we were actually talking about it, when you were drawing up plays, you used to use 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. We don’t do that anymore because of these guys’ versatility and we can just put ‘em wherever we need to on the floor. I think Evan is that. He just happens to be 7-feet tall.”

Allen suffered a fractured finger earlier this month and remains out of the lineup, a situation that has resulted in Mobley’s move.

Mobley was the third player taken in the 2021 NBA Draft, with the Cavaliers hoping that he would make an immediate impact. That hope has materialized over the course of the current campaign, with Mobley being a solid contender for Rookie of the Year honors.

In 59 games this season, Mobley has averaged 14.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. Those numbers help explain why the Cavaliers have had such an impressive resurgence this season after three straight miserable campaigns.

The Cavs won just 60 total games over those three poor seasons. However, with 15 games left in the 2021-22 regular season, the Cavs have a 38-29 record and are firmly in the postseason mix.

Unfortunately, over the past month, the Cavaliers have struggled. They have just three wins in their last 11 contests. Injuries have been one of the biggest reasons for the team’s recent woes.

For the 20-year-old Mobley, he’s simply focused on trying to contribute, regardless of where he’s playing. He and the Cavaliers will host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.

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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.