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Giannis Antetokounmpo Says Cavaliers' Evan Mobley 'Can Be Better Than Me'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2022

Cleveland Cavaliers' Evan Mobley (4) drives against Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had high praise for Evan Mobley on Friday after the Bucks' 117-102 win over Mobley's Cleveland Cavaliers.

Antetokounmpo told Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor the Cavs forward "can be better than me":

"I don’t see why he can’t. It’s up to him. I will always try to improve. Every day. But he has the skill set to be a very, very good player. He’s 7-feet tall. He can move really well. He can shoot. He is very smart. As you said, he watches tapes of other players, which is very, very good for a young player. If he takes this seriously, he is going to be great."

Drawing a parallel between a young star and somebody with Antetokounmpo's resume is always a little unfair. Granted, it's somewhat different when The Greek Freak is the one making the comparison.

Still, Antetokounmpo is a six-time All-NBA honoree, a two-time MVP and a member of the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team. There aren't many others in the league's entire history who can match those accomplishments over a 10-year span.

Mobley's potential is certainly apparent whenever you see him on the court, however.

The No. 3 overall pick in 2021 made an immediate impact on defense for Cleveland, something that typically isn't true for first-year players. He averaged 1.7 blocks as the Cavs finished fifth in defensive rating (108.9), per NBA.com.

Mobley's per-game numbers this season (14.5 PTS, 8.5 REB, 1.4 BLK) aren't significantly up from 2021-22, and he's averaging fewer shots partially due to the addition of Donovan Mitchell.

Still, the 7-footer has enjoyed performances that demonstrate his almost limitless ceiling. His best showing came in a 132-122 double-overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets, when he finished with 21 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Evan Mobley just SNATCHED that 😮 <a href="https://t.co/boeR52xAAw">pic.twitter.com/boeR52xAAw</a>

Antetokounmpo noted Mobley is "already ahead of me" since he didn't make his first All-Star Game until his fourth season and was only putting up 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in Year 2.

That obviously doesn't mean Mobley is guaranteed to surpass Antetokounmpo one day, but his early success shouldn't be taken for granted.