If Evan Mobley is on the board for the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, they'll have an interesting decision to make: Do they take the talented big man despite the possible positional clash with Jarrett Allen, or do they hone in on a different player?
They might not have to worry about any positional overlap between Allen and Mobley, however. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, "sources say the Cavs believe Mobley can thrive at 4 or 5," which in theory would allow him to play on the court alongside Allen at the 5.
Now, that might be a smokescreen as the Cavs try to hide their plans and favored targets ahead of the draft.
But it seems very likely that the Detroit Pistons will draft Cade Cunningham with the top overall pick, while ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported Tuesday that "most teams think the Rockets will end up prioritizing the shot creation and playmaking ability of Jalen Green over Mobley" with the No. 2 pick.
That is going to leave the Cavaliers with one of four options:
- Take Mobley despite any potential overlap with Allen
- Take point guard Jalen Suggs despite a current backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland
- Dip outside of what is believed to be a top tier of four prospects (Cunningham, Green, Mobley, Suggs) to draft a player who better fits the current roster like Jonathan Kuminga or Scottie Barnes
- Trade back
Ultimately, the Cavaliers should take the top player on their board and let the chips fall where they may, even if it ends up being another big man. Adding talent is never a wrong option. And a Mobley selection certainly wouldn't mean Allen is heading out of town—he assuredly will either be re-signed or any offer sheet he signs as a restricted free agent will be matched.
“One of our biggest successes all season was trading for Jarrett Allen,” general manager Koby Altman told reporters after the season, per Fedor. “He remains a remarkable fit for us, this team, our culture, what we need. He loves it here and wants to be here. Obviously we traded a draft asset to get him, so we certainly think highly of him and we want him to be here long term.”
And it would be worth at least experimenting with an Allen-Mobley frontcourt. As Fedor reported, "Most scouts and executives that spoke with Cleveland.com over the last few days have been quick to label Mobley a 4, not a 5, thanks to his mobility, perimeter game, quick feet, athleticism, defensive versatility and rare ball-handling prowess for a 7-footer."
And hey, if Allen and Mobley don't fit, one of them can be a trade chip down the line. There's a time and a place to draft for need and fit, but it's almost never with a top-three pick.