The Los Angeles Lakers beat the young Cleveland Cavaliers 113-101 on Friday. The game could easily be dubbed a clash of generations as Year 19 veterans LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony lead the way for L.A. while rookie Evan Mobley enjoyed the spotlight on Cleveland’s side.
Mobley ended the night with team-high 23 points, adding six rebounds, three assists and two steals. The seven-foot center impressed with his versatility and shot selection, shooting 62.5% from the field and even making one three on two attempts.
The Cavaliers picked Mobley with the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He lacked the attention and recognition of those selected above him, Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green. The two guards entered the season as favorites in the race for the 2021 Rookie of the Year Award.
But Mobley has had a strong start to the 2021-22 campaign, averaging 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals. The 20-year-old can play at both 4 and 5 and possesses a slender figure, similar to Anthony Davis when he entered the league in 2012.
Davis offered Mobley high praise when asked whether the Cleveland rookie reminds him of his younger self.
“This is my first time seeing him play, to be honest. He’s probably the same size I was coming into the league,” he said. “Pretty skinny. Elite shot-blocker. Lob threat. Kind of has some of the same things I had when I was coming into the league. But probably shot it a little bit better than me.”
Davis added Mobley has the potential to become a multi-level force on the offensive end.
“His game is going to progress,” he said. “He’s going to keep getting better and better. You see the potential to be a three-level scorer, watching film on him a little before the game. I seen him shoot the 3. He hit one tonight. I seen him hit the midrange and floaters. He’d go to the post a lot in the game I’ve watched. He has the potential to be very good. It takes time. But I don’t really compare myself to anybody.”
Austin Reaves focuses on playing with positive energy
Although Lakers rookie Austin Reaves went undrafted in the 2021 Draft, he remains a part of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation after impressing in the Summer League and preseason. Reaves is averaging 19.8 minutes per game, scoring 6.2 points and shooting 41.7% from behind the 3-point line.
After ending the victory over the Cavaliers with seven points, the 23-year-old guard said he concentrates on bringing positive energy onto the floor as he enjoys playing quite a serious role for a contender in his rookie season.
“I feel like the energy is the real thing,” he said. “You can feel it, you can feel negative energy, so when you bring positive energy I think everybody just feeds off it. Everybody really brings positive energy. It kind of starts with Dwight and Russ, they’re talking all the time and bringing good energy.
“But really just, I know my job is to go in and play as hard as possible and do anything I can do to help the team be successful. That’s what I try to do and if it gets us going, then good.”
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