Evan Mobley

Central Notes: Drummond, G. Allen, Mobley, Casey

After Bulls center Andre Drummond posted on Twitter on Tuesday that he was deleting his social media apps in order to “focus on my mental health,” he was listed as out for Wednesday’s game vs. the Lakers for personal reasons.

According to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he sent a text message to Drummond to let him know “we’re all here to try to help him.” Donovan added that there’s optimism that the big man will be with the team when it travels to Charlotte for a Friday game against the Hornets.

“Your heart goes out for anybody. I think a lot of times as we come here and play games, there’s also a human side and personal side to all these guys. And you feel bad when anybody is going through something like that,” Donovan said. “I think you try to give as much support as you can. We have the resources inside the organization to help.”

Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is among the NBA players who have spoken in recent years about dealing with mental health issues and depression. DeRozan said his approach with Drummond will be to give him space but let him know he’s available if his teammate wants to talk.

“Give him my positive words and let him know we’re all there for him,” DeRozan said. “That’s the most we can do. Allow him to open up on his terms.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Bucks guard Grayson Allen earned a $425K bonus when he appeared in his 70th game of the season on Wednesday night, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Because Allen only played 66 games in 2021/22, that bonus has been considered unlikely, but it will now be considered likely in 2023/24, bumping his cap hit for next season from $8.5MM to $8.925MM.
  • Michael Pina of The Ringer takes an in-depth look at Evan Mobley‘s trajectory toward stardom, exploring the ongoing development and potential ceiling of the Cavaliers big man. “It’s rare to find somebody so mature right away on both ends of the court,” teammate Ricky Rubio said of Mobley. “I wouldn’t be surprised if his career ended up in the Hall of Fame.”
  • In a pair of mailbags for The Athletic, James L. Edwards fields Pistons-related questions on potential trade targets, the team’s crowded frontcourt, Dwane Casey‘s future, and much more. Regarding Casey, Edwards believes it’s more likely than not that the veteran coach will be back for next season, perhaps with a mandate to at least make the play-in tournament in 2023/24.

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, LeVert, Mobley, Playoffs

The right eye contusion that sidelined Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen for four games still hasn’t fully healed, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. However, the big man was able to return to action on Tuesday in Brooklyn and was effective against his former team in his first game back, scoring 12 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in 35 minutes.

“It’s better,” Allen said of his eye injury. “Not 100 percent. But doctors said it was good to go and good to play and it won’t get worse, so I trust the team and was ready to go again.”

According to Fedor, Allen said before the game that he’s still experiencing some blurriness, which is expected to persist for at least a couple more weeks, but he joked that he’s “not seeing three rims.” While the 24-year-old will likely continue receiving treatment through the end of the month, he’s just relieved that the injury wasn’t as serious as it could have been.

“I think everybody thought it was going to be worse,” Allen said. “The pain I felt was immense. I didn’t know what to expect from it but glad it turned out how it did. … Nothing severely structural was wrong. I can deal with the pain. I can deal with the days of recovery. I just know that my future is stable in terms of my eye.”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Cavaliers wing Caris LeVert struggled last month after being at the center of trade rumors leading up to the Feb. 9 deadline, but has bounced back nicely in March, scoring at least 15 points in each of his last six games with a scorching hot .514 3PT% during that time. In a pair of articles for Cleveland.com, Fedor takes a closer look at LeVert’s role and his “unsung” contributions, and suggests that the Cavs have interest in signing the 28-year-old to a multiyear deal when he reaches free agency this summer.
  • Evan Mobley is taking the second-year leap that the Cavaliers were hoping for, Fedor writes for Cleveland.com. Since one of his worst outings of the season against Phoenix on January 4, Mobley has raised his game to a new level, emerging as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and averaging more than 18 points per game. “It’s hard to say and put a number on it or quantify it, but I think he is a much better basketball player now than he was even in October or December,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think people get hung up a lot on the numbers. You can watch it. If you’ve got a feel for the game, you see where he can impact the game in the way that he does. Now for the naked eye, he’s throwing numbers to go along with it.”
  • Although Fedor recently stated in a Cleveland.com mailbag that Brooklyn is the Cavaliers’ preferred first-round playoff opponent, the outcome of Tuesday’s game made that matchup a longer shot. While the Cavs appear pretty locked into the East’s No. 4 seed (they’re 3.5 games from the next-closest team in either direction), the Nets now trail the No. 5 Knicks by 2.5 games following Tuesday’s loss to Cleveland.

Central Notes: Middleton, Ingles, Mobley, Allen, Duarte, Mathurin

The good news for the Bucks on their most recent road trip went beyond their 2-1 record, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles, who both dealt with injuries earlier in the season, appear fully healthy and ready for the playoffs.

Owczarski notes that Middleton played nearly 34 minutes against both the Warriors and Kings and had his best game of the season with 31 points at Sacramento. Middleton missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery and was sidelined with knee soreness around the All-Star break, but he says he’s finally starting to feel like himself on the court. Ingles returned in mid-December after surgery for a torn left knee ligament, but his play has been up and down until recently.

Middleton and Ingles formed a bond during their rehab sessions, and coach Mike Budenholzer plans to use them together as much as possible.

“We like the idea of Joe and Khris playing together on the wings and having two guys that can really play pick and roll and are great at kind of picking apart (a defense), finding open guys,” Budenholzer said. “They gotta put somebody on both of them so maybe we can find things that we like, ways to attack with both of them on the court.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley said being more aggressive and learning how NBA defenders react has helped him get to the foul line more often, per Kelsy Russo of The Athletic. “I feel like as a big guy, if I give a good pump fake, they’re probably going to go for it,” Mobley said. “If they don’t, I’m already at the basket. I’ve just been pump-faking more, and then once they’re in the air just trying to draw contact and get the foul, and one.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game Friday with an eye injury, but coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he has been able to do individual workouts, Russo tweets. “He’s seen a couple of specialists now and structurally everything is OK to this point,” Bickerstaff said. ” … He’s doing more on the court. And it’s just a matter of when he can safely return because of the eye.”
  • Chris Duarte and Bennedict Mathurin will sit out Saturday’s game, but Pacers coach Rick Carlisle suggests there’s a chance they can return Monday, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

NBA Announces Player Pool For Rising Stars Event

The NBA officially unveiled the 28-player pool for this year’s Rising Stars event on Tuesday, making the announcement via the NBA App. The following players made the cut:



G League players:

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by longtime NBA guard Jason Terry. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA stars Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Deron Williams.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 17 as part of All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City. The NBA’s full press release with more information on the event can be found right here.

Central Notes: Duren, Bucks, Pacers, Mobley

Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren is encouraged by his development through the midway point of the 2022/23 season, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Duren, who began the year coming off the bench, has emerged as a starter for Detroit.

“I feel like I got a lot better from the first game until now,” Duren reflected. “Honestly, my biggest thing is growth. I feel like I’m going to continue to grow and develop throughout the rest of the season, too.”

Through 40 games this season, the 6’10” big man is averaging 7.8 PPG on 64.1% field goal shooting and 8.6 RPG.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Bucks have had difficulty controlling turnovers all season, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It’s something we gotta work on,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said. Jrue (Holiday)’s just got the ball in his hands a ton. We’re asking a lot of him, putting him in a lot of stuff, but I think he can be better. And some of the other ones, I think we can clean up. The guys are trying and we have our stretches, we have our moments where it really hurts us, but it’s just an area where we can improve.” Nehm writes that the Bucks lose the rock 15.1% of the time, and rank just 21st in turnover percentage league-wide this year.
  • The Pacers are struggling to win without injured starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton, writes Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana has lost seven games in a row since Haliburton got hurt on January 11 with a left elbow sprain and bone bruise. “I knew he was a great player, but having him unavailable for seven games … and losing seven games is pretty strong [evidence of] how important he is to our franchise,” head coach Rick Carlisle said.
  • Second-year Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has stagnated somewhat on offense this season, thanks in part to the arrival of All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, writes Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Lloyd thinks getting the ball to Mobley early, and featuring him in the post, would be a strong way to adjust for that. The big man’s 38 points on Saturday vs. Milwaukee represented by far his highest single-game total this season.

Cavaliers Notes: Garland, Mobley, Wade, Defense

Cavaliers guard Darius Garland returned to the court Friday night after missing three games with a sprained right thumb, but the injury was clearly bothering him, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Garland scored 21 points, but shot just 1-of-6 from three-point range and admitted that a wrap he wore on his hand affected his ability to dribble and prevented him from playing his normal style.

“Felt like I could come back and help the team,” Garland said. “I’m trying to just go out there and play through it. I know it’s gonna have an effect on me. I was just trying to fight through and play my game.”

The Cavs needed Garland on Friday with Donovan Mitchell being held out for rest and Ricky Rubio still not ready to start playing. Fedor observed that Garland took another hard hit to the thumb area during the game, along with a shot to the eye and an inadvertent kick to the groin.

“He’s out there taking a beating,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He kept fighting. We’re gonna have to figure something out as a way to protect it. But I don’t know if you can. It’s tough the way he plays and the way he’s defended. People are handsy and they do a lot of swiping at the ball trying to get steals, not in a malicious way by any means, I’m not trying to say that, but his hands are involved in a lot of the plays. I thought he got through it. He’s a tough kid.”

There’s more on the Cavaliers:

  • Evan Mobley spent the summer working to improve his offense in anticipation of a larger role on that end of the court, but plans changed with the trade for Mitchell, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Mitchell provides Cleveland with an elite scorer, and as a result, Mobley is getting fewer shots than he did as a rookie. “Every time I go out there, shooting shots, I can find my spots as much as possible and just let the game come to me — try not to force too often,” Mobley said. “… Some guys have to be the guy and I don’t necessarily have to be the guy on this team, but I’m just gonna try to traditionally produce as much as I can in my role right now.”
  • Dean Wade is making progress with a left shoulder injury that has sidelined him for more than a month, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Bickerstaff told reporters Friday that he expects Wade back “sooner rather than later.”
  • The Cavaliers take pride in having the league’s best defensive rating, Russo writes in a full story. Cleveland has held opponents under 100 points 12 times this season and has been able to win games on nights when the offense isn’t clicking. Since Russo published that story, the Cavs have slipped to second in defensive rating, with the Grizzlies inching ahead of them — Cleveland’s mark is still best in the East.

Central Notes: LaVine, DeRozan, Caruso, Pistons, Garland, Mobley

Zach LaVine used to be the player the Bulls called upon to take the last shot in a close game. DeMar DeRozan has usually taken those shots since joining the team last season and LaVine is fine with that, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

“You understand what he’s done in his career. He’s made a lot of those shots,” LaVine said of his Bulls teammate. “I’ve also made a lot of those shots. So you live with the decision. I ride or die with him every time he takes a shot like that because I’ve seen him make more than he missed.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls are in the middle of the pack in terms of defensive rating and guard Alex Caruso believes they’re capable of guarding with more consistent effort, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. “I think we have the right intentions with it,’’ Caruso said. “Obviously we’re not doing it every single possession, but I don’t think that anyone in the league is capable of that. Coaches have put us in a good spot. It’s about taking the information they give us and executing it on the floor. Like I said, the details. We’ve shown that could lead to some good things.”
  • The Pistons have become quite reliant on their bench and the second unit has produced, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Since Nov. 18, the bench is averaging a league-best 48.1 points per game. Detroit had five reserves in double figures when it defeated Minnesota on Saturday. “We have a lot of character guys on that group,” coach Dwane Casey said.
  • Cavaliers star guard Darius Garland (right thumb sprain) is listed as doubtful to play against the Bulls on Monday, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic tweets. Cleveland forward Evan Mobley (right ankle soreness) is listed as questionable.

Injury Updates: Leonard, C. Johnson, Garland, Brunson

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard has been playing under a minutes restriction all season while returning from a partially torn ACL, but that appears to have been lifted, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Leonard logged 35 minutes Saturday afternoon at Indiana after playing 37 and 35 in the team’s past two games, meaning he’s basically back on a regular schedule.

“Still moving up the right track, feeling healthy still and that’s what it’s about,” Leonard said after the game. “Just keep getting better.”

Coach Tyronn Lue didn’t confirm that Leonard’s minutes limit is gone, but he said the increased availability is welcome because it allows him to stagger Leonard and Paul George and keep at least one star on the court throughout the game.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Suns forward Cameron Johnson appears to be getting closer to a return after having meniscus surgery on November 8, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, who posted a video of Johnson running before Friday night’s game.
  • Darius Garland, who suffered a sprained right thumb late in Thursday’s game, will miss the Cavaliers‘ contest on Saturday night in Chicago, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Garland has been receiving treatment for the injury since it happened, Fedor adds. Cleveland will also be without big man Evan Mobley, who is missing his first game of the season because of soreness in his right ankle. Lamar Stevens and Kevin Love will start in their place, giving the Cavs their 17th different starting lineup in 37 games.
  • Knicks guard Jalen Brunson will miss his third straight game with a hip injury tonight in Houston, tweets Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. The Rockets will be without starting center Alperen Sengun, who is suffering lower back pain, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston (Twitter link).

Cavaliers Notes: Rubio, Mobley, Mitchell, Irving

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio, who was cleared earlier this month to participate in 5-on-5 work, is getting close to making his season debut following his recovery from a torn left ACL. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff indicated today that Rubio’s return could come at some point early in the new year, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link).

“I would expect him, if things go the right way, sometime early next month,” Bickerstaff said. “So we’re definitely progressing in the right direction.”

Rubio began last season in Cleveland and played a key role in the Cavaliers’ early-season success, but sustained an ACL tear on December 28, almost exactly one year ago. He was subsequently traded to Indiana as a salary-matching piece when the team acquired Caris LeVert.

The Cavs were 20-13 entering the game in which Rubio got injured, but lost that contest and then played .500 ball the rest of the way, falling out of the playoffs in the East after losing a pair of play-in games. They’re off to a 22-13 start this season as the veteran point guard works through the final stages of his rehab process.

Here are a few more Cavs-related notes:

  • As Russo writes for The Athletic, Nets star Kevin Durant said he believes Cavs big man Evan Mobley has a “bright future” in Cleveland after working out with the former No. 3 overall pick in the Los Angeles area over the summer. “A lot of guys coming into the league who can do pretty much all things on a court, and he’s one of those guys that can dribble, that can guard, block shots, shoot threes, finish over the rim,” Durant said. “So, he showcased that this summer. Seeing his work ethic up close is something I wanted to see as a fan of the game because you can see the potential if you see a guy work.”
  • Durant also praised Donovan Mitchell for the role he has played in the team’s strong start this season, per Robert Fenbers of Cleveland.com. “Donovan Mitchell is the key to this change for this team, and it’s the reason why you look at them as contenders at this point,” Durant said. “He is such a dynamic, dynamic player since the moment he has stepped into this league.”
  • Kyrie Irving is typically greeted with boos in Cleveland because of how his tenure with the team ended, but in spite of Irving’s trade request, Kevin Love believes his former teammate deserves to have his number retired by the Cavs, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “Without a doubt. Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends,” Love said. “It’s not even a question to me. He needs to be up there. He made the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the most important shots in Finals history when you consider how it all went down — what it meant for the city, what it meant for his legacy, LeBron (James)‘s legacy and everything else, including that Golden State team that became a dynasty and was historically great.”

Cavaliers Notes: Rubio, Mobley, Allen

Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio has yet to make his season debut after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee last season, though he’s making good progress. Rubio said on the El Reverso podcast that he anticipates playing just two or three more NBA seasons, Eurohoops.net relays.

“To be honest, I don’t have much left in the NBA,” he said. “When my son starts school, I want to settle in my house in Badalona (Spain). In two, three years, I would say I have left. I think I’ve found my place in Cleveland, I’m comfortable, and I want to reach the top with this project. I dream of living the experience of playing in the Finals.”

If that’s the case, Rubio may not need to sign another NBA contract. Rubio re-signed with the Cavs on a three-year, $18MM+ contract over the summer, though the final year is only partially guaranteed.

We have more from the Cavaliers:

  • Cleveland wants second-year power forward Evan Mobley to follow the template the Bucks laid out for Giannis Antetokounmpo during his development into the league’s Most Valuable Player, as James Collier of ESPN details. However, Mobley is more advanced than the Milwaukee superstar was at this stage of his career. “People my size cannot move the way I move. I just try to perfect it as much as I can because I understand it’s a difference-maker,” Mobley said. “I understand the way I move, the physicality I bring to the game, it’s big.”
  • Center Jarrett Allen is back in the lineup Tuesday against the Lakers after a five-game absence, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Allen was sidelined by a lower back contusion. He was upgraded to questionable Monday night and participated in Cleveland’s shootaround Tuesday.
  • In case you missed it, Dean Wade has a three-to-four week timetable to return from his shoulder injury. Get the details here.