Brian Windhorst says Evan Mobley playing Draymond Green-type role could help Cavs make 2024 NBA Finals

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes that the Cleveland Cavaliers could make the NBA Finals if big man Evan Mobley plays a Draymond Green-type role for the team.

Windhorst broke down how Green’s playmaking ability has made the Warriors so successful in recent seasons (four titles since the 2014-15 season), and he explained that using Mobley in a similar way could benefit the Cavs.

“He’s more effective rebounding and then bringing the ball up, setting the high screen, short rolling, catching and then distributing,” Windhorst said of Mobley. “That’s basically what Draymond Green is. Draymond Green basically defends multiple positions. When he gets the rebound, brings it up the court so they can stretch the floor, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, Jordan Poole – when they had him.

“They stretch the floor, and when they get into a small lineup where they have all shooters, they put him in the pick-and-roll and good God, if they double team Steph Curry on the pick-and-roll and they dump the ball to Draymond, and then it becomes four on three with the brilliant Draymond Green running that short – sort of half-court offense – what the Warriors did in the 2015 Finals. They did it with David Lee at that time, and it later became Draymond Green.

“If Evan Mobley can do that, the Cavs could be in the Finals this year. But I don’t know if Evan Mobley can do it.”

It seems like Windhorst wants Mobley to be a playmaker to get the ball in the hands of shooters like Darius Garland, Max Strus, Caris LeVert and All-NBA guard Donovan Mitchell.

While in theory it makes sense, Windhorst is also asking Mobley’s playstyle to change quite a bit in this scenario.

Green, who has averaged 7.2 assists per game since the start of the 2015-16 regular season, possesses a unique skill at his position with his court vision and playmaking ability.

Mobley isn’t a bad playmaker, but he’s averaging just 3.1 assists per game this season. Asking him to essentially lead the offense in the way Green does may be a major leap.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Mobley moves very well with the ball for a player of his size, but he has not become a consistent enough shooter for the Cavs to really extend their offense out.

This season, Mobley is shooting just 22.2 percent from beyond the arc for Cleveland. As he gets further away from the basket, his field-goal percentage isn’t nearly as strong as it is close to the rim.

From three feet and closer to the basket, Mobley is shooting a blistering 75.7 percent. However, that number drops to 35.9 percent when he is between three and 10 feet of the basket.

The young forward’s midrange game has improved (39.1 percent from 10-16 feet away from the basket after shooting just 36.2 percent from that distance last season), but it still may not be enough for him to draw defenders in a point forward-type of role.

It’s possible the Cavs will attempt to use Mobley in this role, but the team may not want to tinker with its offense too much after it earned the No. 4 seed in the East last season. It will be interesting to monitor Mobley’s role in the Cleveland offense going forward.

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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.