Evan Mobley looks to be an emerging star for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his growing reputation has him among the betting favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year honors in the 2023-24 season.
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) July 26, 2023
Mobley is the second choice behind reigning Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. The 22-year-old Cavs forward has shorter odds than some better-known NBA stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green.
Mobley is also favored above Victor Wembanyama, a hyped phenom who is about to play his rookie season for the San Antonio Spurs after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Mobley, who was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2021 draft, just completed his second NBA season and was named All-Defensive First Team after he averaged 6.6 defensive rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 79 starts. He was third in Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Jackson and Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, who isn’t among the top nine choices in these recent odds.
The Cavaliers reportedly also have high hopes for Mobley on the offensive end, with plans to get him more involved as he enters his third NBA season. He averaged 16.2 points per game last season after scoring 15.0 points per game as a rookie.
The profile for Cavs players in NBA awards conversations is growing in step with the team’s success on the court. Cleveland won 51 games last season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2018 before dropping out with a disappointing first-round loss to the New York Knicks.
For example, Donovan Mitchell was named All-NBA Second Team last season but firmly believes he should have been a First Team choice, which could happen this season if the Cavs continue to improve.
The outlook in Cleveland is indeed bright, with ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins saying the Cavaliers are too talented not to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals this season. With the additions of players like Max Strus and Georges Niang, plus the continued development of players like Mobley and Darius Garland, Perkins’ words could prove to be prophetic, with Mobley possibly earning a big award in the process.