Houston Rockets NBA Draft star potential #2: Evan Mobley
For a while it seemed like centers were going the way of the Dodo, but, unlike the Dodo, the center was able to evolve before it met its ultimate demise. Protecting the rim will always be a valuable skill and giant people are still the best at it, but no longer can one simply be a giant and a viable NBA center.
Fortunately, Evan Mobley offers everything that the modern NBA center needs to thrive. He is long, athletic, and explosive on the defensive end with the potential to be a defensive player of the year.
On offense, he is an elite finisher at the rim and has flashed potential as a jump shooter and facilitator. However, the most promising part of Mobley’s profile, and why he appears to be a star in the making, is his statistical peers.
Mobley led the NCAA in win shares as a freshman, the last three players to do that are Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, and Kevin Durant. He also led the NCAA in Box Plus/Minus, the only other freshmen to do that since 2010-11 (the first year they have data) are Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson.
If all you had were numbers, Mobley would be the clear can’t miss prospect in this draft but there is a reason he’s behind Cade Cunningham. To be a star in the NBA you can’t simply be a great defensive player and rim runner, look no further than Rudy Gobert.
Mobley flashes offensive potential but he is a long way off from realizing it. His jump shot is still developing and his passing will need to improve if he wants to be a true number one option on offense.
Mobley’s intriguing statistical track record will give the Rockets’ famed analytics department some serious food for thought. He has all the tools to be the type of star that no one talks about, a defensive anchor that is efficient on offense.
Mobley, to be a true star, has a long way to go, but his floor is an impactful defender and deadly rim runner. That’s not a bad outcome, but it’s not one that you want from the second overall pick who is supposed to be a star.
Next: Star potential #1