Evan Mobley and Darius Garland receive love from NBA execs in poll ranking players under 25 to build around

3 Min Read
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley earned the No. 5 spot in HoopsHype’s poll that ranks players under 25 years old to build around.

HoopsHype polled 20 NBA executives for their top five players in the category, and Mobley was behind only Luka Doncic, Victor Wembanyama, Anthony Edwards and Ja Morant.

Cavs guard Darius Garland also received votes in the poll, a sign that Cleveland has a great young core that it can build around for years to come.

Mobley had a solid second season in the NBA during the 2022-23 campaign, finishing as a finalist for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

He finished the 2022-23 regular season averaging 16.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He also averaged 1.5 blocks per game and led the NBA in defensive win shares.

“At times, Mobley plays too nice, but if he gets that killer in him, he’s got a chance to be special,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’s unselfish and always about making the right play. He’s a winner. Defensively, he guards one through five and covers for two small guards on his own basically, especially with Jarrett Allen out.”

The young big man did see his numbers take a hit in the playoffs last season, as the Cavs lost in five games to the New York Knicks in the first round.

Mobley averaged just 9.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 blocks per game in the playoffs. He also shot just 45.8 percent from the field. During the regular season, Mobley shot 55.4 percent from the field, a much more impressive mark.

Still, the future is bright for the 22-year-old. Not only did Mobley land in the top five of this poll, but he was also among the top breakout candidates in a poll that was released in the preseason.

“The sky’s the limit as far as where I can take my game,” Mobley told HoopsHype after Cleveland’s win to open its 2023-24 season. “I try not to limit myself to anything as far as where my game can go.”

As for Garland, he’s been one of the Cavs’ best players for multiple seasons now. Last season, Garland ended up averaging 21.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game while shooting 41.0 percent from beyond the arc – the best mark from 3 in his NBA career.

With Garland and Mobley both coming into their own, the Cavs have a bright future ahead of them, and it appears others around the NBA agree.

Share This Article
Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.