San Antonio Spurs: Top 5 2021 first-round draft targets

Charles Bassey (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Charles Bassey (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Evan Mobley (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Evan Mobley (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

San Antonio Spurs Draft Prospect 2: Evan Mobley (USC)

Let’s entertain for a moment that the San Antonio Spurs miraculously end up with a top-four pick in this year’s draft. If it is the first overall pick, it should be used on nobody other than Cade Cunningham, but that’s a different discussion. In the case that the Spurs have the second, third, or fourth pick (and assuming Cunningham is off the board), whether it be through a trade-up or him still being available, the Spurs need to consider going all-in on Evan Mobley.

Evan Mobley appears to be one of the players in this draft class with extremely high expectations coming into the NCAA season and fully met those expectations now that the season is over, being that he’s already being compared to former NBA stars like Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh.

That said, Mobley’s combination of size, mobility, and skills are too unique to make any meaningful comparisons. He is already elite at some of the skills one would expect with a seven-footer, like shot-blocking and finishing above the rim on offense. For his size, though, he is additionally an extremely impressive ball-handler and one of the best passers in his class regardless of position.

The 19-year-old is simply on a different stratosphere than the vast majority of prospects in his draft class and surely could have gone number one overall in a number of other drafts based on skillset alone, including this past year.

He isn’t called a unicorn for no reason. There has even been some debate about whether or not he should be the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, although I find it very hard to believe that any team would be willing to pass on Cunningham.

While Mobley isn’t the best of outside shooters just yet, he is still well above average for a big man with a lot of room to improve.

If I were forced to have any shred of a complaint about Mobley’s game, it would be his passiveness. Mobley was undoubtedly the most talented player on his team at USC this past season, and yet he was not afraid at all to share the ball with his teammates.

While this may sound like more of a compliment than something to complain about, there were a few times (mostly early on in the season) when he was passive almost to a fault, with USC’s loss to Oregon State in late January immediately coming to mind.

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All things considered, though, considering his IQ, skillset, and athleticism, he would fit in seamlessly with the Spurs, and probably just about any other NBA team for that matter. If the front office believes that they will be in striking range of Evan Mobley come draft night, it would be a move well worth the potential cost.