Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley is a strong contender for NBA Rookie of the Year, with veteran teammate Kevin Love offering a key reason why Mobley should win the award.
Love was interviewed by CBS Sports and explained that Mobley’s consistency is a major factor why the rookie is worthy of the accolade.
“I think consistency,” Love said. “I obviously have a lot of respect for [Scottie] Barnes and what he’s done. He’s going to be a very, very good player for a long time and I don’t even know if, with his raw talent, he’s really scratched the surface of how good he can be. Cade Cunningham, same kind of thing. I think he’s going to continue to make big steps.
“But, I think Evan has just been consistent all the way through. Defensive end, offensive end. He stepped up when Jarrett Allen was out, or we’ve had different guys in and out of our lineup. He’s just been a steady force. He never really hit a rookie wall throughout the season. I’ve seen a lot of rookies come in and out of this league and he has a chance to be extremely special. I think he’s proven that he’s downright Rookie of the Year. But again, he has really good company in the guys that are at the very top of his class.”
Mobley was selected by the Cavaliers with the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and quickly showed why he was one of the top selections in the league.
In 67 games this season, Mobley is averaging 14.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. His ability to deliver on both ends of the court is one of the reasons why the Cavaliers will likely be competing in the play-in tournament after not reaching the postseason since 2018.
Mobley has had added pressure put on his young shoulders over the past month due to the injury-related absence of Allen. The Cavaliers have struggled as a team with Allen out of the lineup, but Mobley’s ability to adapt to new circumstances is another positive sign for the future.
Love has the rare perspective to know what Mobley is going through, as the veteran was also a top-five draft pick. In addition, Love’s ability as a player who’s averaged a double-double in multiple seasons is something that the veteran can no doubt envision when looking at Mobley.
At this point, Mobley has little control over whether he ends up winning the prestigious honor. However, he does have some level of control in the final three games of Cleveland’s regular season, with the Cavs’ next game set for Tuesday night against the Orlando Magic.