Houston Rockets: Did the Rockets make a mistake by not selecting Evan Mobley?

N.B. Lindberg
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LeBron James, Evan Mobley, Houston Rockets
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Houston Rockets: Why Evan Mobley looks like a future MVP

As a prospect, Evan Mobley was pinned as a future Defensive Player of the Year. As a rookie, he might already be in that conversation and has an excellent chance of landing on one of the two All-Defensive teams. 

Related. 3 reasons the Houston Rockets should select Evan Mobley in NBA Draft. dark

Houston Rockets: How Evan Mobley has transformed the Cavaliers defense

The Cavaliers were the 25th ranked defense last season. They’re the 8th rated this season, and they've done it playing the defensively limited Lauri Markkanen at the three for long stretches. Mobley is already a massive difference-maker on defense and it shows right away on the tape and in statistics. 

Mobley is 20th in defensive box plus/minus, 8th in defensive win shares, 11th in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive rating, and 4th in Dunks & Three’s estimated plus/minus defensive rating. He already combines the ability to contest shots without fouling, which is the hallmark of an elite defensive player. 

There are exactly three players averaging over 2 blocks per 100 possessions while committing no more than 3 fouls per 100 possessions. One is Evan Mobley, and the other two are Anthony Davis and Robert Williams. 

Mobley’s defense has made him an instant impact player, but his offense has been far better than expected. He’s averaging 15.6 points and 2.3 assists per game on 52.7-percent shooting and 33.3-percent shooting from 3-point range. There is nowhere on the court that Mobley can’t hurt a defense. 

As he gets stronger and improves his shooting range and touch he should develop into a go-to offensive hub. However, the most impressive part of Mobely’s start has been his positional versatility.