Let’s break down the game of USC’s talented big man in this Evan Mobley NBA Draft Profile. The talented big has been ranked as one of the top players in his class for quite some time. After a solid individual year for Mobley as a Trojan, he is moving on and joining the ranks of other one-and-done prospects that have flowed to the league in recent years. Mobley is a unique talent and should be ready for the NBA on day one. There are advantages that he has over other players in the class, especially a class filled with guards like this one.
Let’s get into his game, what makes him so good and the weaknesses he may have coming into the league.
Modern Big Man Offense
Evan Mobley is going to be that modern forward in the NBA. He is going to be able to handle the ball very well for his position. Probably handles the ball like a small forward but at 7’0″ and 210lbs, he is going to bully a lot of smaller forwards with his passing. That is if he chooses not to back them down and use his footwork to get into the basket.
He is going to dunk anything and everything he can. Putbacks, slip through the back door, post moves, and more. Mobley played in 33 games as a Trojan and hit 57.8% of his field goals. He likes to get into the mid-range and make you guess if he is going to the basket or going to pull up for a jumper. His mechanics and movement on offense are all sound and he shows great promise with how skilled he is on offense. He isn’t afraid to pop out and shoot the three either, hitting 30% of his shots from beyond the arc.
He’s shown a high level of finesse ever since high school. Watch here.
Evan Mobley did a thing ?
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) September 29, 2019
Mobley looks so comfortable dribbling in the open court. Its usefulness is debatable, but it shows how skillful he is. pic.twitter.com/9nNmQyNCeg
— The Scouting Rapport (@ScoutingRapport) March 24, 2021
He led the Trojans for a 6-seed appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They took on Drake, Kansas, and Oregon through the first three rounds. After clinching an Elite Eight birth they ran into Gonzaga where they lost by 19. In that final game, Mobley had 17/5/3 in points, rebounds, and assists. His free throw shooting is a bit underrated, he shoots about 70% from the charity stripe and averaged about six shots per game from the FT line.
Defense and Timing
While Mobley is largely considered an offensive player, he has the skills on defense to make the opposition pay. He gets off the ground quickly for such a big player, times his blocks on defense very well, and brings more of that finesse to the game. He isn’t going to be easily rushed, and won’t jump into shot fakes as much as other players.
With his skinny frame, he isn’t going to bump a lot of guys out of the paint at the next level, however, with his footwork and timing he doesn’t have to. He excels at moving his feet to stay in guarding position and with his long reach, it is going to be hard for smaller forwards to shoot over him in the paint. Mobley does a little bit of everything and does a great job crashing the defensive boards as well. His defense allows his guards and other teammates to run the floor and look for the deep pass or play.
While Mobley can dribble the ball in open court, there is never much need for it. He has the skill, but until he masters it a bit more it isn’t the most practical thing for him to use. His three-point shooting needs to improve somewhat. The NBA requires all players to be able to shoot the ball from outside now. Mobley needs to bump that 30% to 33%+ in order to shoot that shot regularly at the next level.
Mobley carries a skinny frame that likely won’t add a lot of weight, even if he tries to stack it on. He is slender and long, which makes his game so unique, but it is also a slight weakness. I could see Draymond Green or Nikola Jokic bullying Mobley in the paint. Those are two excellent players of course, but those 230lbs+ forwards and centers may find his 210lbs frame an easy target. There is so much more to like about his game, these are the small things that would take him from a top-5 NBA pick to an elite NBA forward.
NBA Draft Comparison: LaMarcus Aldridge
Even though LaMarcus Aldridge had to retire early due to health reasons this season, Mobley is a good heir to LA. When Aldridge came into the league he wasn’t very bulked up, and although he could have left after one season at Texas, he stayed and improved his game. Mobley will be going to the NBA after just one season, but the mobility and finesse of his game make me think of Aldridge first. He may not be quite as athletic as the 2006 2nd pick overall, but he possesses the skill, footwork, and maturity in his game that a lot of big men do not have coming into the league.
Mobley could be hearing his name called in that 2nd draft position as well. He moves a bit better than Aldridge and is probably a little quicker on breaks and open court situations.