Cavaliers set for huge Evan Mobley boost for preseason finale vs. Magic
The new-look Cleveland Cavaliers will enter one of their most anticipated seasons in franchise history at virtually full-strength. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff announced on Thursday that Evan Mobley, the reigning Rookie of the Year runner-up, was a full participant in practice and is expected to make his preseason debut on Friday against the Orlando Magic.
#Cavs big man Evan Mobley was able to practice today and will play tomorrow against the Orlando Magic, per head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) October 13, 2022
The Cavaliers announced on October 3rd that Mobley would miss his team’s exhibition opener against the Philadelphia 76ers with a sprained right ankle and remain sidelined for “approximately 1-2 weeks.” He’s been slowly progressing ever since, and a return on Friday night would mark the midway point of that expected timetable for his full recovery.
Mobley enters this season as one of the league’s most intriguing players as much for his mouth-watering blend of physical tools, two-way feel and budding skill as how his rare all-court versatility can help the Cavaliers coalesce into an Eastern Conference power.
A seven-footer fully capable of guarding on the interior and perimeter, Mobley’s presence on that end could go a long way toward mitigating defensive concerns about the small backcourt tandem of Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell. Similarly, his growth as a shooter and playmaker offensively will be key to Cleveland overcoming its lack of scoring punch on the wing and quality depth off the bench.
Mobley averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks per game as a rookie, narrowly missing out on All-Defense honors. All indications point to him being better this season, and not just due to diligent offseason work that prioritized improving his jumper and gaining physical strength. Playing with one of the league’s most talented backcourts is bound to make the game easier for Mobley, too.
Clear your schedule for Friday night, Cavs Nation. Mobley’s return is appointment viewing before the regular season finally tips off next week.
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Author: Jack Winter