Evan Mobley | 2022-23 Cavaliers Player Year in Review

May 24, 2023

Andy Billman

3 Key Factors Evan Mobley in 2022-23

1 – Defensive MVP

No question, the defensive MVP for the Cavs is Evan Mobley.  Mobley’s strengths are not necessarily in numbers but it is apparent when in the game that an opponent’s offense is trying to play around Mobley because he causes havoc.  

He does two things very well on defense:

Protecting the paint – Mobley does not allow a guard or wing who likes to slash to the hole to score close to the rim, which is a huge plus in today’s NBA. He forces the opposing player to pull up or pass the ball once he approaches the paint.  If the other team is not shooting well or struggles with ball movement, the Cavs are going to win with Mobley protecting easy buckets around the rim.

Pick and roll – Mobley is a rare big man as he can defend almost anyone in the pick and roll, which is used constantly in today’s NBA. That is a real weapon as the Cavs don’t have to be concerned about Mobley getting abused with a smaller, quicker player.  

Mobley also makes his teammates around him better defensively, which really helps as the Cavs have two smaller guards in Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland.  That can not be understated how much Mobley helps our guards when they have issues controlling ball handlers. 

He finished in the top three for defensive MVP for a reason, he is an elite defender. 

2 – Slight improvements offensively across the board 

Let’s lead off by saying Mobley did improve offensively this season, for the most part, his numbers across the board are up.  With that said, it is only a slight uptick.  His points per game are up from 15.0 to 16.2 and his shooting is up from 51% to 54%, but again not huge increases.  Around the paint, Mobley is very good with ball movement, passing, and scoring. 

When Mobley leaves the paint, is when issues start to happen. His three-point shooting is down, which is concerning.  He only shot the ball 21.6% from three, which is very low (near the bottom for NBA bigs).  The Cavs are clearly giving him opportunities to shoot the three and the defense is more than happy to see him put it up.  This is going to have to change for next season, either Mobley shoots less 3’s or his percentage goes up for the Cavs to improve next year.   Also, Mobley is an ok dribbler, so the other issue is when Mobley gets the ball around the three, he has to shoot as really can’t do much else with the defenders crowding his teammates and the paint. 

To me, it is pretty easy to see, Mobley around the paint and around the rim is pretty good and actually a real force.  In the modern NBA, teams love to see bigs play around the three-point line, but unless there’s a huge improvement, that does not play to Mobley’s strengths.  In fact, Mobley is regressing in some areas of his game when he is around the three-point line. 

3 – Needing to get bigger 

A big topic after the elimination of the Cavs to the Knicks, is Mobley needing to add muscle, which he does.  Mobley could use some more size for sure, which will help him with rebounding and also scoring around the rim.

Let’s dive deeper into the rebounding discussion, Mobley is an average rebounder which can be explained in part by what was said above in number one that he has a lot of responsibility on defense, and you can not expect Mobley to play tough defense, and then spin around to get a rebound when he’s not in a position to do so, that is not fair.   There are moments, however, when he is not the focal point on defense and Mobley gets caught watching the ball too much rather than getting into position to rebound the ball.  

Mobley getting bigger will help, yes, but he does need to do a better job with rebounding in general which has nothing to do with his current size. 


I believe Mobley is going to be the most discussed Cavs player this offseason as it will be wide-ranging on expectations.  

Mobley needs to get bigger and yes, he clearly has to work on his offensive game around the three-point line, especially shooting.  But is that the best for Mobley, playing at the top of the offense like Nikola Jokić, I don’t believe so,  He is clearly a player who can play around the elbow and inside the paint, and be a force.  I think he should do more of that next season. 

He’s also a defender that elevates the entire team’s defense and is a top NBA defender individually.

Again, I see wide-ranging opinions on what Mobley should be in season three, and he will be the player to watch in 2023-24 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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