Evan Mobley
(Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Evan Mobley 2021 NBA Draft Scouting Report

Evan Mobley enters the 2021 NBA Draft after going one-and-done at USC. A former five-star high school prospect, he was the No. 3 player in the 2020 class according to both ESPN and 247Sports. Mobley solidified his standing during his freshman season at USC, winning Pac-12 Player of the Year after an excellent campaign. He is expected to be selected with one of the first few picks in the upcoming draft.

  • Height/Weight: 7’0″/210 pounds
  • Primary Position: Center
  • Freshman Statistics: 33 Games, 16.4 PPG, 2.4 APG, 8.7 RPG, 57.8% FG, 30.0% 3PT, 69.4% FT, 0.8 SPG, 2.9 BPG, 2.2 TOPG

Strengths: Interior Presence, Transition Play, Versatility

Mobley has this gravitas and presence about him down low that should keep him from being phased out of today’s NBA like most big men seem to be. This is most obvious on defense. The 20-year-old averaged three blocks a game as a freshman. We’re looking at a player that could develop the defensive paint presence of Rudy Gobert with added mobility and switchability. That’s a big deal.

Mobley displays some crazy quickness and anticipation on defense to get out to the perimeter for the block.

For his size, Evan Mobley is surprisingly agile and fluid. He keeps up in transition, which is much more than most bigs of his size can say. Given that transition is much more of a factor in the NBA versus college basketball, this strength of Mobley’s will likely become more obvious.

Mobley is a big man with some of the skills of a guard. This makes him extremely versatile on offense with upside as a tertiary playmaker. Furthermore, his quickness and defensive know-how allows him to switch onto players at the perimeter. His defense may struggle against a stronger center like Joel Embiid, but Mobley could be a nightmare to match up with on either side of the ball.

Here, Evan Mobley shows off his transition abilities and guard skills with a great pass.

Weaknesses: Lack of Physical Dominance, Outside Shooting, Intensity

While Evan Mobley has a good interior presence that helps his rim protection and post game, he isn’t exactly a physically dominant big in the same way that Joel Embiid or Anthony Davis is. Mobley seems to be less that archetype of player and more someone who relies on finesse and post skills. He is really athletic, but he doesn’t have the bulk to overwhelm defenders down low.

Many analysts have harped on Mobley’s stretch big potential, but I think these evaluations look way too far ahead. In the present, he doesn’t have a reliable outside shot, and he isn’t as close to getting one as many would have you believe. This is an aspect of his game that needs to find consistency, but it isn’t a lost cause.

Really love Mobley’s shot mechanics. Needs to be more consistent at knocking down outside jumpers, but he has the look of someone who can get there.

Evan Mobley also does not play with a ton of intensity. That’s only a bad thing insofar that he can slip into a passive style of play, much like Karl-Anthony Towns sometimes does in Minnesota. Mobley’s lack of intensity affects his physical dominance and willingness to be involved in offensive sets. There are times where it looks like he does not want the ball. Defensively, he’s usually very engaged, so this seems to be less of an issue on that end.

Best NBA Fit: Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mobley is the type of prospect who will be a good fit wherever he is drafted. He’s going to end up in either Houston or Cleveland barring something weird happening, so those are the teams listed here. Mobley will slot in well alongside Christian Wood in Houston or Jarrett Allen in Cleveland, forming a young, dynamic frontcourt in either scenario.

NBA Comparison: More Athletic LaMarcus Aldridge

Evan Mobley is essentially a more athletic LaMarcus Aldridge. Like Aldridge, the USC product has a refined defensive skillset with a solid close/midrange offensive game as well. Percentage-wise, Mobley has about the same perimeter shot that Aldridge did during his career. One area Mobley has a leg up on Aldridge is in the athleticism department. He is a much more agile player who does well in transition.

Draft Projection: Top 3 Pick

It is widely agreed upon that Mobley is going to the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 3 overall. The Houston Rockets are apparently set on Jalen Green, and it is unlikely Jalen Suggs is selected before No. 4. There is still a possibility that Mobley winds up in Houston, but the current intel heavily suggests he will fall to the Cavs.

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