Brian Windhorst says Evan Mobley ‘viciously’ blocked young Cavs players’ shots during pickup game

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley had a terrific rookie season in the 2021-22 campaign, and he’ll look to improve even more when the 2022-23 regular season kicks off next month.

Mobley has been putting in work this offseason, and according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, he was sending shots back at young Cavs players during a recent pickup game that featured newly acquired guard Donovan Mitchell.

“We got to watch the Cavs go through a run, a pickup game,” Windhorst said. “And it was Donovan’s first pickup games with his Cavs teammates. And when you’re watching out there on the court, it’s like, ‘This is a pretty good team.’”

Windhorst broke down what he saw.

“You got Darius Garland out there. You got Evan Mobley out there, who is just wickedly blocking a couple of the younger Cavs guards who they have, wickedly blocking them going to the basket with complete — no emotion whatsoever.

“They come in, and he doesn’t even change expression on his face and just viciously blocks it.”

Mobley, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, was a candidate for the league’s Rookie of the Year award last season. A big reason why was his elite defensive ability, and he appears to be in peak form already this offseason.

The bigger question for Mobley is how he will expand his offensive game, but he’s shown some flashes in offseason workout videos of a more developed outside attack.

Last season, Mobley averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.

With Mitchell on the roster, Mobley may not be asked to score as much for the Cavs, but when he does look to put the ball in the basket, he should have even easier opportunities to do so now that another All-Star is on the team.

If Mobley continues to build off of his rookie season, the Cavs could become one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference in the 2022-23 campaign after narrowly missing the playoffs last season.

With Mobley and Jarrett Allen protecting the paint and Garland and Mitchell facilitating the offense, the Cavs have one of the best young cores in the NBA at the moment.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.