CLEVELAND — With the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected USC center Evan Mobley.
As one might imagine considering Mobley's status as one of the top prospects in the draft, the Cavs received plenty of praise from pundits, including the following:
The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor
Comments: Mobley is a no-brainer selection for the Cavaliers. At 7 feet, he can defend the perimeter like a wing and make an impact as a rim protector. On offense, he can pass and score from outside like a guard. His former AAU coach told The Ringer’s Mirin Fader that Mobley has a chance to be 'a generational player in the NBA.' It’s true."
Yahoo Sports' Ben Rohrbach
Comments: "Mobley is the best big in his class. His versatility and talent would make him worthy of a No. 1 pick in most years. He can play alongside Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt and rounds out a roster that features three more recent lottery picks: Collin Sexton and Darius Garland in the backcourt and Isaac Okoro on the wing."
The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy
Comments: "It is a measure of the change in NBA mentality that Mobley, as the draft's best center prospect, is not automatically the presumptive No. 1 overall pick. It's also a measure of the change that a player with Mobley's frame (7-0, 215 pounds) would be valued so highly at the center position. When Shaquille O'Neal was chosen No. 1 overall in 2007, he was 7-1 and 293 pounds.
"But the desire now is for big men who can move on the perimeter to defend against screens, and Mobley is elite in that department. He is a developing shooter with great ball skills, especially as a passer. He thinks the game like the coach's son he is. The more I consider him, the more I wonder if I should have had him No. 1 on my big board "
CBS Sports' Colin Ward-Henninger
Comments: "A 7-footer with guard skills, Mobley is the ideal modern big man with his ability to stretch the floor and switch defensively. The fact that he was available at No. 3 avoided any potential redundancy with Jalen Green and the existing Cleveland backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, so overall the Cavs have to be thrilled."
Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley
Comments: "Trade winds seemed to blow around this selection, but the Cavs were right to keep the pick and invest it in Mobley. They need someone with a skyscraper’s ceiling, and the 7-footer out of California could certainly have the best career of anyone in this class.
"The modern NBA places do-it-all-demands on bigs, and Mobley looks up to the task. His ceiling stretches all the way to go-to scoring and annual contention for Defensive Player of the Year honors."
SBNation's Ricky O'Donnell
Comments: "This pick is a home run for the Cavaliers. Mobley is the most versatile big man in this draft class as a 7-footer with long arms (7’5 wingspan), quick feet, and the ability to play any type of pick-and-roll coverage defensively. While he lacks an aggressive scoring mindset, Mobley can still make an impact offensively as a tremendous passer and lob target early in his career. He’s also just starting to scratch the surface of his shooting potential."
NBADraft.net's Derek Bast
Comments: "The Cavaliers got themselves a generational talent last night and the most exciting big-man prospect since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015. Mobley carried the USC Trojans all the way to the Elite Eight in his only season at USC and he did it with defensive versatility, dominance in the paint, and a modern style of perimeter shooting and great touch around the rim. This guy is an automatic contender for the number one overall pick in most seasons, and the Cavs very easily could have found themselves their next face of the franchise."