Name: Evan Mobley
Reported Height: 7’0
Reported Wingspan: 7’4-7’5
Weight: 210 lb
Evan Mobley has likely secured himself a spot as a top 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft following an impressive season at USC. The young big possesses a rare combination of agility, height, length, timing and basketball IQ. On defense Mobley displayed decent perimeter defense and elite rim protection. On offense he showed off his ability to run the floor better than any other 7 footer in the NCAA this season. He also showed off some quick post moves, including an impressive jump hook. However as good as Mobley has been this season, the most appealing aspect of him to NBA teams is the amount of upside he displayed in so many different aspects of his game.
Mobley has been listed at 7 foot on almost every reputable sports site, and watching him play I do not disbelieve that. Once he is measured barefoot, I believe that the shortest he could measure at would be 6’11. With a wingspan that is also consistently listed between 7’4 and 7’5, Mobley has prototypical big man size. With this height, Mobley will have no problem playing at either center or power forward.
Mobley’s only noticeable drawback from a physical standpoint is his lack of weight. Listed at 210 lb (95.25 kg), Mobley is a lot lighter than the typical centre. With Mobley’s frame, I am also unsure about his ability to put on too much more weight and strength due to his shoulders looking already filled out. Looking at a player like Anthony Davis, while he did not possess a lot of muscle yet at Kentucky, he had very wide shoulders that he filled with muscle to increase his strength. However at Mobley’s current size he could easily be a power forward, and with his solid lateral quickness, he still has the potential to be a star at this position. Mobley’s lower body does look like it has room to add a lot of muscle, this lower body strength would be important when matching up against strong lower based players such as Julius Randle and Zion Williamson.
Mobley may be 7 foot, but he has the speed of a much shorter player. He looks like a giant small forward with his ability to cut off the ball, and even when he drives with the ball himself (even if he is going to need to tighten his handles). This speed is one of Mobley’s best attributes and will allow for him to be able to make an impact immediately in the NBA as a rim runner, defender and slasher.
Evan Mobley averaged an impressive 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. He achieved this while shooting 57.8% from the field, 30% from deep and 69.4% from the free throw line. Mobley’s 2.2 turnovers per game is also solid for a big man who handles the ball for periods of time.
One of Mobley’s most underrated statistics is his low 1.8 fouls per game. For a rim protecting big man who averages 2.9 blocks per game, this is very impressive. Some skinnier big men, such as Mo Bamba, struggle with foul trouble. Mobley is able to avoid fouls by having excellent defensive positioning and decision making. This is seen when Mobley decides between going for the block or going straight up on defense. His good defensive footwork allows him to stay in front of smaller players which also helps him avoid foul trouble.
2.9 blocks per game was good enough to rank for number 6 in blocks per game in the whole NCAA Division I. Further making a case for why he is the best defensive big in the draft.
Mobley made 61.5% of his shots from inside the arc. This reflects the fact that the majority of his shots are at the rim. This does not make Mobley one dimensional on offense however, as these shots at the rim are created from a mixture of drives, cuts and post ups. Mobley has a very valuable hook shot that he can use in each of these scenarios.
When projecting a player’s shooting potential, the two main things that need to be taken into consideration are a player’s free throw percentage and 3 point percentage. Early in the season Mobley shot very well from deep, however due to his low free throw percentage at the time, many people (including myself,) believed that his three point percentage would drop. And while his 3 point percentage did drop to 30%, his free throw percentage did rise to 69.4%. This is promising in terms of Mobley’s shot potential. While Mobley won’t be an immediate threat as a shooter, his solid shooting touch should be enough for the right coaching staff to develop into an effective jump shot.
Another one of Mobley’s impressive stats is the fact that according to sports-reference.com, he led the whole NCAA in win shares. This is a result of being 5th in the NCAA in offensive win shares, and 2nd in defensive win shares. A player’s win shares are calculated based on how many wins are credited to the player based on their stats. This shows that Mobley’s play on both sides of the floor are part of why he has the potential to be a star in the NBA.
One of the most interesting parts of Mobley’s game is his playmaking. Mobley averaged a solid 2.4 assists per game for the season. During the NCAA tournament he increased his average to 3.25 assists per game. These rising assist numbers reflect Mobley’s improving decision making and above average court vision. If he can tighten his handle, I can see Mobley becoming a good secondary ball handler. He displays good court vision and a very accurate pass for a young big man. This would give the team that drafts him some extra options on offense. Bigs such as Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jokic are able to playmake from the high block. This allows them to create for cutters below them and to pass back out to 3 point shooters.
The most common comparison for Evan Mobley is Chris Bosh, and it is easy to see why. While Bosh was a better shooter and rebounder than Mobley at the same age, I would say that Mobley has better perimeter defense and ball handles at the same age. Mobley also shoots a better percentage at the rim.
Like Bosh, Mobley is a mobile big man with very similar measurements. He is capable of playing both big men positions and playing well on both sides of the floor. I also believe that they will be similar level rebounders.
In my opinion Mobley has a higher ceiling than Chris Bosh, and I am saying this as a big fan of Bosh’s game. However potential needs to be met with the right situation and the right coaching staff. Mobley is going to need to increase his range and strength in order to reach this potential, but he has all of the pieces to do so.