Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert again brought up Defensive Player of the Year calls for the team’s dynamic big duo in forward Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen during the team’s practice on Monday.
“(Evan Mobley)’s gotten a lot better since the beginning of the season, not just from last year. I feel like he gets better every single game,” LeVert said. “When you’re that young, every little bit of experience helps.
“He’s growing each and every game, especially when he has to play the five some games and then going back to his natural position at the four. I think he’s just soaking up so much knowledge right now.”
Once called a “unicorn” by Cavs guard Darius Garland, Evan Mobley has played and started in 71 games for the Cavaliers during his second season in the NBA. Mobley racked up four blocks against the Washington Wizards on Friday, effortlessly switching onto guard Bradley Beal and forward Kyle Kuzma before deflecting attempts at the rim from two of Washington’s top scorers.
“I think (Evan Mobley)’s top-3 in Defensive Player of the Year,” LeVert said. “I think (Jarrett Allen) should be there too, to be honest with you. Just with how he impacts the game, pick and rolls, being that anchor for us at the rim, defensively, protecting and then switching out on guards, too.
“There’s not many bigs who can move the way he can and pick things up as quickly as he can on the fly. He’s been super valuable for our defense.”
Though he had high praise of his own for Evan Mobley on Monday, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff made his case for Jarrett Allen’s spot as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year not once, but twice in November.
“I’ve made this point before,” Bickerstaff said. “(Jarrett Allen) is a DPOY-caliber player.
“If you take that away, it’ll obviously have an impact on us. When he’s on the floor, we’re a different team.”