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Projected top-three pick Evan Mobley declares for NBA Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Evan Mobley, the top big-man of the 2021 NBA Draft class, announced his decision to declare for the upcoming draft this July on Twitter Friday afternoon.
"LEAGUE BOUND! I’ve dreamed about turning pro since I was a kid. Come along for the journey," Mobley said in the tweet.
Mobley enters the draft after a stellar freshman season at USC. The projected No. 2 overall pick in NBC Sports Washington's latest NBA Mock Draft has been projected as a top-five pick all year long. Mobley displays the skill set at the PF/C position to fit the modern needs of a big man in the NBA. He possesses ball-handling skills and is extremely versatile on the defensive end. Some describe him as a 'unicorn' big man similar to Nikola Jokic, without the direct player comparison.
With a 7-foot frame, Mobley wouldn't shy away from leading an offense and thrives in transition opportunities. By the end of his season with the Trojans, Mobley became the team's most efficient player in the halfcourt.
He was named a consensus Second Team All-American, Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, leading USC to an Elite Eight appearance. Mobley averaged 16.4 points per game and shot 61.5% from the field and 30% from 3. He also averaged a team-high 8.7 rebounds per game.
Mobley's offensive upside is what draws many to him, especially after improving his shooting from behind the arc last year. However, his defense is his most valuable asset. Not only can he guard other big men in the frontcourt, but he can also shut down guards on the perimeter.
Mobley was just shy of three blocks a game as the Trojans finished sixth in defensive efficiency according to KenPom and his 7-foot-4 wingspan was a huge reason why.
Mobley could be one of the biggest threats to Cade Cunningham as the potential No. 1 pick in this year's draft. While Cunningham stumbled in moments during the season, Mobley always had an impact on the floor, becoming more consistent at his position and taking advantage of his opportunities to run an offense.
It's not necessarily a runaway competition, but Mobley has the basic fundamentals in his game to jump to the top selection in the pre-draft process.
Mobley can fit into an up-tempo system without clogging the paint and providing some much-needed defensive rim-protection. The Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors are also lottery teams that could take advantage of a player like Mobley.