Kyrie Irving says 5 years of offensive development can make Evan Mobley one of NBA’s ‘most complete’ players

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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving offered his opinion that Cavs big man Evan Mobley only needs a few more years of experience to become one of the NBA’s most complete players.

Irving, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, made his social media comment in the wake of the Nets’ victory over the Cavaliers on Monday night. In that contest, Mobley had 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and a block.

Mobley’s point production has dipped in the Cavaliers’ past four games, with the second-year big man scoring a combined 41 points in those contests.

For the season, Mobley’s numbers are close to what he delivered for the Cavaliers last season. Despite those impressive first-year numbers last season, he narrowly missed out on capturing the NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Mobley’s scoring average of 14.6 points per game is slightly below his average of 15.0 last season. However, his rebounding average of 9.0 per contest surpasses last year’s average of 8.3 per game.

The scoring dip seems likely connected to the arrival of Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt of the Cavaliers. Mitchell is is averaging 28.5 points per game and putting up an average of 20.1 shots per contest, though he concurs with Irving on Mobley’s potential.

Yet, the small point decrease doesn’t eliminate what Mobley gives the Cavaliers on both ends of the court. That package also includes an average of 2.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game this season.

Those numbers are what the Cavaliers were hoping for when the team selected Mobley with the third overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. Even if he were unable to convince voters around the league after last season, the Cavaliers are excited about Mobley’s future with the team.

Irving has the unique perspective of knowing the pressures that Mobley is facing. During the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cavs selected Irving with the top overall pick. Irving’s legacy with the franchise was cemented when he hit the game-winning shot in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Just one year later, Irving asked for a trade and was subsequently dealt to the Boston Celtics. Two years later, he left the Celtics and signed with the Nets in free agency.

Some of Irving’s social media posts over the past few years have been highly controversial for a variety of reasons. In this case, the people arguing against him likely represent a handful of NBA fans.

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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.