With one-quarter of the 2021-22 season in the books, some players around the league have established themselves as front-runners in several NBA awards categories, including Rookie of the Year.
The early conversation surrounding the Rookie of the Year race centers around a handful of players. Of that group, a couple of players are likely leading the way, including Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley and Toronto Raptors guard Scottie Barnes.
When mentioning it, Zach Lowe of ESPN gave the early edge to Mobley in his weekly “10 things” column on Friday. He wrote extensively about the Cavaliers’ defense and gave a quick nod to Mobley.
(The Cavaliers) have yielded bundles of shots at the rim, but that may be somewhat by design: Good freaking luck finishing around Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley — the front-runner (by a hair over Scottie Barnes, who somehow plays with electricity and chill at once) for Rookie of the Year.
Mobley this week was named the Eastern Conference of the Month for October and November after averaging 14.4 points, eight rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots. He ranked second in scoring while he led all rookies in blocks, field-goal percentage (49%) and double-doubles (4).
Evan Mobley looked All-World at times vs. the Heat (17-11-4-4 + 4 blocks, steal). Rhythm shooting, speciality shot-making from post, quick-decision passing. Locked up Herro on multiple possessions. On track to become one of NBA's most complete players. pic.twitter.com/xWqkvUjzlA
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) December 2, 2021
The third overall pick has made a tremendous impact for the Cavaliers. He has emerged as a key player for the Cavaliers and has proven to be an elite defender given his ability to control the paint and switch onto smaller players.
The Cavaliers recently went 0-4 without Mobley in the lineup, and have won three straight since he returned. They are getting outscored by 6.8 points per 100 possessions without him on the court and have a plus-3.8 net rating with him on the court.
While there is certainly plenty of basketball left to be played, Mobley has emerged as a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year and may very well be the front-runner for the award.