CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous, unrelated story.
As a result of Tuesday night's draft lottery, the Cleveland Cavaliers now know that they'll enter the 2021 NBA Draft with the No. 3 overall pick.
The ping pong balls in Secaucus, New Jersey, barely had time to settle before the debate in Northeast Ohio began.
With the Detroit Pistons expected to select Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick, the Cavs should have their pick of at least two of the three top remaining prospects. Should the Houston Rockets use the No. 2 pick to select NBA G League guard Jalen Green -- who many believe would be the best fit for Cleveland -- that would likely leave the Cavs deciding between USC center Evan Mobley and Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs.
The debate is a fascinating one, considering the different skill sets of the two players, the current construction of Cleveland's roster and the realities of the modern NBA. With that in mind, let's take a look at the pros and cons of each player.
The case for Evan Mobley
If you've been spending the past year studying NBA mock drafts, you might be surprised to see Mobley even being considered to be available at No. 3. Behind Cunningham, many draft experts have projected the No. 3 recruit in the 2020 class to be the No. 2 prospect in this year's draft, trailing only Cunningham.
Measuring in at 7-feet tall and 215 pounds with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, Mobley possesses the ideal physical profile for a big man in today's NBA and the athleticism to match. While he didn't showcase 3-point range during his freshman season at USC, he did display soft touch as a shooter and encouraging signs that he could be a long-distance threat.
In addition to his ability as a scorer, the San Diego native excels as a passer and has even displayed the ability to handle the ball. If nothing else, he should be a high-level defender capable of covering the post and switching onto the perimeter -- a valuable skill in today's pick-and-roll heavy game.
As far as his fit with the Cavs, many believe Mobley could play alongside Cleveland's current center, Jarrett Allen, as a power forward. Should that be the case, it isn't hard to envision the Cavs touting lineups consisting of Mobley, Allen, Isaac Okoro, Darius Garland and Collin Sexton -- all of whom are 23-years-old or younger.
The case against Evan Mobley
As intriguing as Mobley's size and skill set are, the reality is that centers aren't as important in the modern NBA as they were 20 -- or even 10 or five -- years ago. In many ways, the league has become one that's won on the perimeter, with wings and guards playing larger roles in their teams' success than the traditional big man.
While Mobley's athleticism and ball-handling ability hardly make him a traditional big, his current lack of a 3-point shot is a legitimate cause for concern. While it's something he could always add to his repertoire, there's no guarantee that he will, especially in the first few years of his career.
That's worth noting for Cleveland, as the Cavs ranked last in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage and 3-pointers made last season. In theory, Mobley may fit in alongside the rest of Cleveland's current young core, but any lineup alongside Allen, Okoro, Garland and Sexton would leave a lot to be desired when it comes to shooting from long-distance.
While it's easy to see why teams would look past Mobley's position in favor of his ceiling, it's hardly a lock that he'll fulfill his potential -- especially early on. And that could prove especially problematic for the Cavs, who are hoping to make a leap in their post-LeBron James rebuild as early as next season.
The case for Jalen Suggs
Of all the criticisms of Cleveland's current rebuild, one of the fairest seems to be that the Cavs lack a centerpiece. In that regard, Suggs could serve as the perfect solution, considering his status as arguably the most polished prospect in the draft.
A 6-foot-4, 205-pound shooting guard, Suggs found no shortage of success in his lone season at the college level. Playing on a Gonzaga team that won its first 29 games before losing the Baylor in the national championship, he averaged 14.4 points on .503 shooting (.337 from 3-point range), 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists and hit the game-winning buzzer-beater in the Zags' victory over UCLA in the Final Four.
A former 5-star prospect, Suggs is an elite athlete who was recruited by Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day to play quarterback. On the court, his athleticism manifests itself in the form of his ability to play above the rim and defensive prowess, while he also excels in transition and has a proven track record of playing with or without the ball.
Factor in his high I.Q. and intangibles and it isn't hard to envision Suggs making the biggest immediate impact in the 2021 class. And for a team that has laid claim to the worst record in the NBA over the course of the past three years, that would certainly make him a welcome addition in Cleveland.
The case against Jalen Suggs
It isn't hard to imagine that being the reaction from most Cavs fans -- and the rest of the NBA -- should Cleveland select Suggs. After all, the Cavs' rebuild began with them selecting Sexton eighth overall in 2018 and continued when they picked Garland with the No. 5 pick the following year.
While it's certainly fair to question Sexton and Garland's fit together, both players have served as Cleveland's building blocks for the past two-to-three years and have found varying degrees of individual success in that span. Drafting Suggs would likely mean giving up on one of them -- probably Sexton -- unless the Cavs can find a way to keep all three guards actively engaged in suitable roles.
Beyond questions about Cleveland's roster construction, Suggs is hardly a perfect prospect as there are concerns about his consistency as a shooter, touch around the rim and turnovers. And while he may be one of the more pro-ready players in this year's draft, most draft experts believe his ceiling to be lower than Cunningham, Green and Mobley's.
Where you stand on the Mobley-Suggs debate likely comes down to your current view of Cleveland's roster.
If you've been encouraged by the progress of Sexton, Garland, Okoro and Allen, then Mobley might make the most sense, as he's more likely to allow the Cavs to keep that core intact. Meanwhile, if you think Cleveland needs a jolt or even needs to diverge from its current path, Suggs seems more equipped to provide just that.
It's also worth considering that Allen is entering restricted free agency this summer and could command a contract worth more than $100 million, while Sexton is now eligible for an extension.
One way or another, the Cavs have some decisions to make on the future of their roster. And how they handle the No. 3 pick should it come down to Mobley or Suggs could ultimately result in Cleveland tipping its hand.
More Cleveland Cavaliers coverage:
On Wednesday's episode of Locked On Cavs, Chris Manning and Evan Dammarell react to the Cavs landing the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.