Not only have the Cavs had him emulate Garnett in his development, but Mobley has also drawn comparisons to the Hall of Famer.
Mobley told The Athletic’s Joe Vardon that while he doesn’t try to compare himself to anyone, it’s not bad to be put in the same company as Garnett.
“I think it’s a pretty good comparison,” Mobley told Vardon.
Back in October of last season, Mobley played like Garnett in a win against the Atlanta Hawks, grabbing 11 boards, blocking four shots and scoring 17 points.
That led to Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff revealing how Mobley reminded him of Garnett after the game.
“It’s a Flip Saunders zone that I watched a lot when I was in Minnesota,” Bickerstaff said. “Seeing Evan’s ability to move through that made me think of when K.G. was playing at the top of that zone. That position he plays in that zone is not an easy position. You’ve got to quarterback it from the front and also see and be aware of what’s behind you. The way he picks up things, you tell him something and he goes and does it, and that’s not common for young players.”
To be compared to a former Defensive Player of the Year and MVP is quite an honor. The Cavs want Mobley to develop into a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award as his career progresses.
“I try not to compare myself to anybody for real though, because I am my own player,” Mobley said of the Garnett comparisons. “I think it’s a good comparison, as well as to every other player that has my same physique.”
Vardon mentioned Garnett’s Hall of Fame status to Mobley, eliciting an excited response from the young Cavs star.
“Yeah, I mean, yeah, he is a great player as well, so I think it’s a pretty good comparison,” Mobley said.
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, and he helped the Cavs make the league’s play-in tournament. He averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.
The Cavs are hoping he will continue to develop into a defensive anchor for the team while also expanding his offensive game alongside Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen.
If Mobley does reach the level that Garnett did in his career, the Cavs are going to be in good hands for a long time.