In the latest edition of 'P.I. Pulse,' Pro Insight's Aneesh Namburi conducts a deep dive analysis on the top big man in the 2021 draft class, USC's Evan Mobley:
Evan Mobley is a 7-foot freshman center for the USC Trojans. A consensus top-5 recruit in the 2020 high school class, Mobley is having one of the most productive seasons from a freshman big in recent memory. The younger brother of sophomore teammate Isaiah and son of USC assistant coach Eric, Mobley came up through the esteemed Compton Magic AAU program. He is one of the best defensive big prospects possibly ever, while providing a plethora of modern offensive skills that will assuredly help him fit on any team. Below is an in-depth scouting report that covers every aspect of his game and how it translates to the NBA, where his strengths lie in addition to potential areas of improvement.
Date of Birth 06/18/2001
Weight 215 lbs.
Standing Reach 9'0"
Broke left foot and right wrist in HS
High: Perennial All-Star 2-way big. Offensive hub who impacts the game at a high level. Can run both sides of PnR at a high level: roll threat, playmaker, attacker, and pull-up shooting all present. Punishing shooter off catch, and a passable movement shooter. Adds enough strength to highly technical post game (w/ length) to give matchup problems to most bigs. Elite rim protector with added strength. Successful utilization in multiple PnR coverages. Proficient in team defense, specifically as a weak side rim protector. Real switch potential, essentially a five-position defender.
Median: Sub All-Star big. Vertical+screen threat in both half court and transition. Playmaker off the short roll. Ability to put the ball on the floor and create for himself+others, with occasional on-ball creation capabilities. Credible shooter off catch, with occasional movement capabilities. Good technique in the post, can take advantage of mismatches. Elite rim protector, but still rather slender. Proficient in team defense, specifically as a weak side rim protector. 3-4 position switch defender, struggles against quicker guards due to high hips. Might need some help on bigger centers.
Low: Starting level playmaking + D big. Vertical+screen threat in both half court and transition. Can make plays off the short roll, but not the quickest processor. Occasionally puts the ball on the floor. Ability to step out and make a 3 from standstill when defense leaves him open. Good technique when posting up, but lack of strength limits efficiency. Excellent rim protector. Good team defender, tendency to gamble a bit but tools help recovery. Real switch potential, will likely need to play the 4 against stronger bigs.
Elite physical measurements with height and wingspan. Will always be on the stringy-er side but enough core development and lower body mass should allow him to defend most bigs. Can play either the 4 or the 5. Outlier fluidity, coordination, and dexterity for position, likely a byproduct of his time as a guard before growing almost one full foot within one year during his middle school years. Moves really well laterally and has good hip flexibility despite having very high hips. His vertical is nothing outlandish, but his timing, length, and aggressiveness will mitigate weaknesses. Wingspan is between 7-foot-4 and 7-foot-5, helps him drop shots over defenders or reach up to alter shots/passes.
+4ish WS, which gives him the ability to get off tougher shots cause D cannot contest
High center of gravity/hips. Other attributes make up for it in HS, college but may not translate completely in NBA
Grew 11 inches in middle school. Helps explain his ball skills + coordination
Mobley is a skilled big who could turn into a secondary offensive hub. He offers a floor as a high power roll threat and finisher, due to his length, touch, and ability to get off the ground quickly. Mobley also makes plays from the short roll. He should have utility as a spacer, mostly showing flashes as a rhythm shooter off the catch this season, and has real potential to grow into a potent shooter due to his mechanics and touch indicators. Does a great job reading the floor, especially for a big at his age. Mobley has a unique handle for a big man, with the dexterity and coordination to put the ball on the deck from a variety of positions and create for himself and make positive plays for an offense. Has the ability to manipulate defenses with ball fakes, and his gravity when attacking helps. He has real potential as a screener both on and off the ball and could run some side PnR in a pinch down the road.
90/133 within restricted area this season, excellent touch around the rim with both hands
High level technical ability, utilizes fakes well
Understands angles/positioning in order in order to use bevy of finishing moves
Proficient rim runner in transition, extremely fluid/fast moving down the court
Can take mismatches (slower footed bigs) off the bounce, length to finish over stronger players
Elite vertical finisher in the half-court. Vertical numbers may not be elite, but gets off the ground very quickly
0.923 PPP on 39 jump shots in half court (46.2% EFG)
More potential than production thus far, but positive indicators + good touch
Lower body mechanics pretty solid in terms of technique. Only potential issue is with power transfer on the way up to apex
Super high release point. Combined with length, will likely be a very difficult shot to block