There’s no denying that the Cleveland Cavaliers would not be where they are today without the strong play of Evan Mobley. The Cavs rookie may not be the best player on the team — although he has looked the part on more than a few occasions — it’s a known fact that Mobley has established himself as an integral part of the Cavaliers.
Mobley’s development has a lot to do with how Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff has integrated the young big man into his team. Bickerstaff has played a key role in Mobley’s success early in his career and it all boils down to trust. Mobley has put his faith in his coach, which in turn, Bickerstaff rewarded by placing his trust in the 20-year-old.
In a recent interview, Bickerstaff revealed the exact moment he decided to place his trust in Mobley. It wasn’t early in the season. It wasn’t even when the 7-foot big man dropped a career-high 30 points against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month. As a matter of fact, Bickerstaff was already fully confident in Mobley’s ability even before the season started:
“Most 19-, 20-year-olds when they come in the league, it takes them a little bit of time before you can be like, ‘You know what? We can count on this guy,’” Bickerstaff said, via Andrew Grief of the Los Angeles Times. “And Evan almost immediately, when you watched him play pickup early in September, when you watched him go through preseason, there was a stability there you don’t typically see in rookies and I began to trust him almost immediately.”
This speaks volumes of how talented Mobley truly is. He had not even played a single minute in the NBA but already, he had earned the respect and the trust of one of the top coaches in the NBA today. As Bickerstaff said, you can’t say the same about most 19- or 20-year-olds.
Bickerstaff then went on to talk about one of his favorite aspects of Mobley’s game. Apart from his extremely high potential on the basketball court, what also stands out for the Cavs coach is Mobley’s selfless mindset:
“It’s so many different ways that he impacts winning that he continues to grow on you every night because you see something different,” Bickerstaff said. “And his mentality never changes. The only thing that he does, and I’ve said this before, is he just tries to figure out how to help this team win. And it’s never one time been about him, it’s never been ‘I need more touches, I need more plays called for me, I need this certain matchup, I need to do this.’”
Again, this is not the type of attitude that you would expect from most rookies in the league. It’s quite understandable how most younger players tend to make it all about themselves. After all, there’s no better way to make your name in the league than by putting up eye-popping numbers. Then again, Evan Mobley is not like most rookies in the NBA.
Based on what Bickerstaff is saying here, Mobley is also an excellent teammate. The kid puts the team first ahead of his own personal agenda. This is a type of mindset that players often learn years into their respective careers in the NBA. Mobley is just 20 and he already posseses this mentality. The Cavs definitely have a special talent in this young man.