The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA, and a big reason why is because their front office has done an impeccable job of drafting talent in recent years.
Two linchpins of Cleveland’s roster, Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, were both selected within the top five of their respective drafts.
Mobley was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, just one pick after Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green. Though the Cavs apparently had interest in Green that year, the California native did not work out for the Cavs in the pre-draft process. His camp reportedly didn’t even agree to a Zoom call with the franchise.
“Cleveland had tried to book Jalen Green for a pre-draft visit to Northeast Ohio, but Green’s representatives informed the Cavaliers he was only working out for the [Detroit] Pistons and Rockets, sources said,” Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports wrote. “Green’s camp would not even agree to a Zoom call. And when the Cavaliers contacted the Rockets, Houston was candid. The Rockets were set on their guy. They wanted the uber-athletic combo guard from the G League Ignite. It wasn’t long before rival front offices wrote Green to the Rockets in proverbial Sharpie on the whiteboards in war rooms across the league.”
Through the report, it seems quite possible that Green already knew for certain that the Rockets planned to grab him with the No. 2 spot. Still, it isn’t a great look for the fledgling star.
So far, Mobley’s career with the Cavs has arguably gone far better than Green’s has with the Rockets. That’s not to say Green is starting to look like a bust. In the 2022-23 NBA season, he put up 22.1 points per game. However, that personal success did not lead to much team success for the Rockets.
In fact, the Rockets are still one of the worst teams in the league and won just 22 games this season, good for the No. 14 seed in the Western Conference. The team recently parted ways with head coach Stephen Silas.
As for Mobley, he’s a cornerstone for the No. 4-seeded Cavs and one of the top candidates to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors this season.
Mobley and Cleveland are surely entirely focused on their first-round playoffs series against the New York Knicks that is set to begin on Saturday.