Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo recently offered his belief in Evan Mobley’s vast potential, saying the second-year man has a chance to be better than him.
Antetokounmpo offered his thoughts about Mobley after the Bucks’ win over the Cavaliers in Milwaukee on Friday night during an exclusive interview with Cleveland.com.
“He can be better than me,” Antetokounmpo said while walking out of Fiserv Forum late Friday night. “I don’t see why he can’t. It’s up to him. I will always try to improve. Every day. But he has the skill set to be a very, very good player. He’s 7-feet tall. He can move really well. He can shoot. He is very smart. As you said, he watches tapes of other players, which is very, very good for a young player. If he takes this seriously, he is going to be great.”
Asked to explain why Mobley could surpass him, Antetokounmpo pointed to Mobley’s production, which is already above what the two-time MVP was delivering at the same point in his career.
“I didn’t average what he is in my second season, so he’s already ahead of me,” Antetokounmpo told Cleveland.com. “It’s in his hands. If he stays humble, continues to work hard, focuses on the game and shows love to the game of basketball, he is going to be really good.”
Antetokounmpo’s words will hopefully help Mobley get over a forgettable performance against the Bucks. In just 29 minutes, Mobley had eight points, eight rebounds and three steals but struggled by going just 2-of-12 from the field.
Such efforts have been a rarity since Mobley started wearing a Cavaliers uniform in 2021. His statistical numbers are largely the same as those of his first season when he narrowly missed out on the NBA Rookie of the Year award.
The production delivered by Mobley likely didn’t come as much of a surprise to the Cavaliers, who drafted him with the third overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.
Mobley’s teammates get an up-close look at what he can do and are seeking ways to help him fully reach his potential. For example, Darius Garland has emphasized that Mobley has already established his team leadership while Donovan Mitchell is urging him to be more vocal.
The early success of Mobley has also been noticed by others outside the Cavaliers organization. One poll of the league’s general managers stamped Mobley as the player most likely to have a breakout campaign this season.
In addition to that more immediate outlook, a comparison of Mobley to Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett gives an indication of just how high Mobley can rise with his basketball talent.
Right now, the only problem that could set Mobley back is injuries. He was forced to deal with them last season but has played in all 19 of the Cavs’ regular season games thus far.
For now, Mobley’s strong work ethic will continue to drive him to live up to Antetokounmpo’s rave reviews. Next up is a Sunday road game against the Detroit Pistons.