Re-drafting the 2021 NBA Draft — 2. Evan Mobley, Rockets
The Cavs were a postseason team before injuries derailed their season. At the middle of it all was Evan Mobley, who immediately dominated the defensive side of the ball in a way very few rookies can. He’s just everywhere — blocking shots, swallowing guards on the switch, racking up passing-lane deflections. His instincts and I.Q. are absurdly advanced for a rookie playing such a complex and versatile defensive role.
Mobley should probably make the All-Defense team as a rookie. The rookies who defend at that level are few and far between (and there’s somehow two in this draft…). The Rockets are probably content with the Jalen Green pick, but if given a re-do, it would be hard for Houston to justify not taking Mobley. He would give them a much-needed defensive backbone while presenting immense offensive upside in the long term.
Even in a season in which he moved with the gangly clumsiness of a teenage 7-footer, Mobley averaged 15.0 points on over 50 percent shooting. He has room to expand his jump shot, he will get stronger with time, and the Rockets would offer quite the runway for offensive reps.