Former NBA center and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins called out Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley for not taking the next step so far in his second NBA season.
"Where the hell is Evan Mobley? … We've been waiting on him to take that leap, like in the conversation with elite bigs… He hasn't lived up to this season."
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) January 11, 2023
Mobley, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, was one of the top contenders for the Rookie of the Year award last season, but he hasn’t made a major leap forward yet in his sophomore campaign.
Perkins’ criticism of Mobley may be coming a little early, as the Cavs are off to a good start this season. Cleveland is 26-16 through its first 42 games and holds the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Mobley’s scoring has gone down from 15.0 points per game last season to 14.2 points per game this season, but he isn’t asked to do as much on offense with Donovan Mitchell now on the roster.
As a rookie, Mobley took 12.0 shots per game and shot 50.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from 3-point range. In his second NBA season, the Cavs forward is taking just 10.5 shots per game, but he’s improved from the field, shooting 55.1 percent.
Mobley’s numbers haven’t taken a massive jump like some may have expected, but he’s averaging more rebounds per game (8.8 this season compared to 8.3 last season) and assists per game (2.8 this season to 2.5 last season).
He also has posted a 1.8 defensive box plus/minus so far this season, which is an increase from last season (1.5).
Mobley didn’t come into the league as an extremely polished offensive player, and the Cavs aren’t asking him to make a major leap as a scorer. Instead, they are relying on Darius Garland and Mitchell to handle the scoring load.
Players like Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert have fit in well around them, even though their numbers don’t jump off the page like Perkins would like.
There is still a ton of room for growth for Mobley, who the Cavs would love to see become a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year in the near future.
Still, it’s hard to expect more from him offensively this season when his shots per game are down and he’s playing on a better team. Cavs fans shouldn’t be worried about Mobley’s development just yet.