Isaiah Mobley

Central Notes: I. Mobley, Pistons, Haliburton, Pacers

Cavaliers rookie two-way player Isaiah Mobley, older brother to 2022 All-Rookie Cleveland center Evan Mobley, enjoyed an impressive Summer League turn. Now, the Cleveland front office is optimistic that the elder Mobley can make an impact on the team’s regular season roster as well, writes Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. He finished his first Summer League experience with a 15-point, 10-rebound game against the Hawks.

The Cavaliers, who finished with their first winning record in four years during the 2021/22 season, drafted the 22-year-old power forward out of USC with the No. 49 pick last month and signed him to a two-way contract. Despite an inconsistent jumper, Mobley was able to aid the Cavaliers’ Summer League roster on the court through playmaking in short stints, grabbing boards, and blocking opponents on defense.

“I mean, he’s comfortable with the ball in his hands,” Summer League head coach Mike Gerrity, an assistant under head coach J.B. Bickerstaff during the regular season, said of Mobley. “So we’re trying to put it in his hands at times to allow him to make the plays. And I think when him and [first-round lottery pick] Ochai [Agbaji] are coming into the dribble-handoff, it’s a really lethal combination, especially out here in summer league. And so, he’s growing, and he’s learning, just like the rest of these guys. But just his decision-making, his ability to make passes, make the right reads, and he’s an unselfish player.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • After spending the past three seasons languishing with lottery-bound young rosters, the Pistons‘ front office is buzzing about the team’s exciting core, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Detroit’s two 2022 lottery picks, shooting guard Jaden Ivey and center Jalen Duren, both flashed plenty of promise in this year’s Las Vegas Summer League showcase. “I think we hit a home run,” a team source expressed to Collier. “We positioned ourselves well and [general manager] Troy [Weaver] did a great job of putting guys together on the same timeline… We’ll probably have the youngest team in the league next year, or one of [them], so we have to be careful not to put too much pressure or set expectations. We’ve got great chemistry, and I think we’re going to be in position to make a big jump in wins.” The Pistons project Ivey, the fifth pick out of Purdue, as an ideal backcourt fit alongside 2022 All-Rookie First Team point guard Cade Cunningham.
  • Despite the fact that the Suns wound up matching the Pacers‘ maximum offer sheet to Phoenix center Deandre Ayton, Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton appreciated his club’s willingness to pony up the dough for such a high-level player, as he told Alex Golden and Mike Facci in a recent episode of the podcast Setting The Pace (hat tip to James Boyd of the Indianapolis Star for the transcription). “Our front office is aggressive to want to get back in the playoffs,” Haliburton said. “They’re aggressive to compete for championships, as they should be, as any organization should be. And obviously they offered DA that deal and he accepted it. I think it would’ve been beneficial because he’s a great player, but Phoenix obviously matched as they probably should and you just kind of move on from it.”
  • The revamped Pacers will boast a young roster with high upside heading into the 2022/23 season. In another piece (subscriber link), Boyd takes a look at the team’s current personnel, speculating about potential starters and the bench rotation. Boyd also notes that current projected veteran starters Buddy Hield and Myles Turner could be traded before the 2023 deadline.

Cavaliers Sign Ochai Agbaji, Isaiah Mobley

The Cavaliers have officially signed 2022 draft picks Ochai Agbaji and Isaiah Mobley, the team announced today in a press release.

The 14th overall pick in last week’s draft, Agbaji received the rookie scale contract that is standard for first-round picks. Assuming he signed for the full 120% of the rookie scale, which is the norm, he’ll earn approximately $3.9MM in year one and $18.7MM across four years.

The 22-year-old Agbaji won an NCAA championship with Kansas as a senior in 2021/22 and enjoyed his best college season, averaging 18.8 PPG and 5.1 RPG with a shooting line of .475/.407/.743 in 39 games (35.1 MPG).

Mobley, the brother of rising Cavaliers star Evan Mobley, signed a two-way contract. Isaiah, who played alongside Evan at USC in 2020/21, stuck with the Trojans for another year and averaged 14.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 3.3 APG in 32 games (34.1 MPG) as a junior before declaring for the draft. He was the 49th overall pick last Thursday.

The Cavs’ other draftee, No. 56 overall pick Luke Travers, remains unsigned. It’s unclear if he’ll be stashed overseas for the 2022/23 season or if he’s in the mix for Cleveland’s other two-way slot.

Draft Notes: O’Neal, Eason, Lakers, Weathers, Nembhard, Mobley

LSU junior Shareef O’Neal is eligible to be selected in the draft, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal was mistakenly included in the list of withdrawals released by the league last week. He has upcoming team workouts, Charania adds.

We have more draft-related info:

  • Another LSU player, wing Tari Eason, has upcoming workouts scheduled with the Cavaliers, Grizzlies and Spurs, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. He has already worked out for a number of teams, including the Bulls, Thunder and Knicks. Eason is ranked No. 18 overall on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • The Lakers hosted six prospects on Monday, including UCLA’s Johnny Juzang, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. That group also included Remy Martin (Kansas), Jermaine Samuels (Villanova), Michael Devoe (Georgia Tech), Haowen Guo (Shanghai Sharks) and Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech).
  • SMU’s Marcus Weathers worked out for the Spurs on Monday, Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com tweets. Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard and USC’s Isaiah Mobley were also among the six prospects San Antonio hosted, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. Nembhard, a point guard, projects as a potential first-rounder. He’s ranked No. 35 on ESPN’s list.

Draft Decisions: B. Ellis, Castaneda, Disu, Reed, More

USC guard Boogie Ellis is withdrawing from the 2022 NBA draft and returning to the Trojans next season, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. After spending two seasons with Memphis, Ellis transferred to USC for his junior season and improved his numbers across the board, averaging 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists on .417/.376/.798 shooting.

With the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline set for Wednesday night, several other early entrants have decided their plans for 2022/23. Here are some more draft decisions:

  • Akron guard Xavier Castaneda will also withdraw from the draft, a source tells Rothstein (Twitter link). Castaneda spent his first three seasons with South Florida prior to transferring to Akron, and like Ellis, he saw his statistics improve in his new program, averaging 13.6 points, 3.6, rebounds and 2.3 assists on .407/.373/.823 shooting in ’21/22. He’ll use his extra year of eligibility to return to the Zips next season.
  • Forward Dylan Disu is withdrawing from the draft and returning to Texas for his senior season, Rothstein tweets. Disu was highly productive as a sophomore for Vanderbilt in ’20/21, averaging 15 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks on .492/.369/.736 shooting, but underwent season-ending knee surgery prior to transferring to Texas. He never regained his rhythm for the Longhorns, averaging just 3.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 10.9 minutes.
  • Eric Reed Jr., who spend his first two seasons with Southeast Missouri State, is withdrawing from the draft and transferring to Mississippi State, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Reed averaged 16.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1 steal with a .419/.357/.815 shooting slash line last season.
  • Guard DeMarr Langford Jr. plans to withdraw from the draft and return to Boston College, per Goodman (Twitter link). Langford averaged 11.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals on .456/.269/.670 shooting for the Eagles as a sophomore this past season.
  • Daylen Kountz is withdrawing from the draft in order to use his extra year of college eligibility, he told Goodman (Twitter link). The 6’4″ guard averaged 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists on an impressive shooting line of .512/.421/.823 for Northern Colorado in ’21/22. He’ll return to the Bears next season.
  • USC forward Isaiah Mobley will remain in the draft, his father told Rothstein (Twitter link). Mobley averaged 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a junior for the Trojans last season. The news was anticipated, as he was expected to keep his name in the draft. He’s the only player ranked on ESPN’s big board among the players listed here, but at No. 98, he’s unlikely to be drafted. Still, there’s a chance he could catch on as an undrafted free agent, perhaps on a two-way deal. Mobley is the older brother of Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley, the No. 3 pick of the 2021 draft.

Isaiah Mobley Among Latest To Enter NBA Draft

USC big man Isaiah Mobley announced on Twitter that he will declare for the NBA draft and hire an agent. Mobley also entered the draft last year, along with his brother Evan, who is among the favorites for Rookie of the Year honors. Isaiah decided to return to school for his junior season and averaged 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds in 32 games.

“These past three years have been amazing,” he wrote. “I’ve had experiences that I’ll never forget, played with teammates that have become brothers (well, one brother that became a teammate), and I’ve done it all in front of the best fans in the country.”

There are a few more draft decisions to pass along:

  • South Carolina forward Keyshawn Bryant also used a tweet to announce his decision to enter the draft and hire an agent. “To Frank Martin and the coaching staff, thank you guys for everything you’ve done,” wrote Bryant, who averaged 8.7 PPG in his senior season with the Gamecocks. “To the fans and the university, this was an amazing four years here. Thanks for all the love and support.”
  • Purdue senior guard Eric Hunter Jr. will also forego an extra year of eligibility and enter the draft. Hunter, who averaged 6.2 PPG this year, also made his announcement on Twitter.
  • Jalen Adaway, a senior guard at St. Bonaventure, will enter the draft as well (Twitter link). He averaged 15.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in 32 games this season.
  • SMU guard Kendric Davis, also a senior, will enter the draft but will keep his college eligibility, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. Davis scored at a career-best 19.4 PPG clip for the Mustangs this season.
  • A report last week stated that TCU guard Mike Miles was expected to remain in the draft, but he now plans to maintain the option to return to college, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).

Draft Notes: Juzang, Abmas, Last-Minute Decisions

After leading UCLA to the Final Four, Johnny Juzang will withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his junior season. Juzang announced his decision on Twitter about an hour before the NCAA’s Wednesday deadline of midnight Eastern Time for early entrants to pull out of the draft and retain their eligibility.

“Going through the draft process has been an amazing experience,” he wrote. “I was blessed to connect with great people, learn and grow, and get a feel for life at the next level. I want to thank everyone who has helped me in this process including my family, trainers, school and especially my dad who helped me for countless hours!”

There was talk that Juzang might be a first-round pick after an outstanding performance in the NCAA tournament, but a disappointing showing at the combine hurt his status, according to Chad Ford (Twitter link), who speculates that he could be back in first-round consideration next year.

There’s more on last-minute draft decisions:

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-27.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Draft Notes: Giddey, Pro Days, Combine, G League Elite Camp

Potential lottery pick Josh Giddey isn’t expected to attend the NBA draft combine in Chicago or any pre-draft workouts, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Instead, scouts will get a look at Giddey later this month when his Australian team travels to Las Vegas for exhibition games with Team USA, Spain, Nigeria and Argentina.

The 6’8″ shooting guard has been moving up draft boards and ranks No. 13 on ESPN’s latest list of prospects. Giddey, 18, played this season with the Adelaide 36ers and averaged 10.9 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Draft Notes: Hyland, Cockburn, Mobley, Wheeler, More

VCU guard Nah’Shon Hyland has opted to declare for the 2021 NBA draft and will sign with an agent, signaling his decision to go pro, he announced this weekend on Twitter.

The 20-year-old known as “Bones” had a breakout sophomore year in 2020/21, averaging 19.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.9 SPG with a shooting line of .447/.371/.862 in 24 games (31.9 MPG). The performance earned him Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors. Hyland currently ranks 68th on ESPN’s big board, making him a borderline candidate to be drafted in July.

Here are a few more draft updates:

  • Illinois sophomore center Kofi Cockburn, who tested the draft waters a year ago, has once again declared for the draft, he announced on Twitter. Cockburn, who averaged 17.7 PPG and 9.5 RPG in 31 games (27.0 MPG) in 2020/21, didn’t explicitly state that he’s forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, but his statement strongly suggests that.
  • Like his brother Evan, USC sophomore forward Isaiah Mobley will enter the 2021 NBA draft, he announced on Twitter. While Evan – a probable top-four pick – is definitely going pro, Isaiah will test the draft waters, maintaining his college eligibility throughout the process.
  • Georgia sophomore guard Sahvir Wheeler is entering the NCAA transfer portal and will simultaneously test the draft waters, he told Jonathan Givony of ESPN. A member of the All-SEC Second Team in 2021, Wheeler averaged 14.0 PPG and 7.4 APG this season, and is considered one of the best passers in the NCAA, says Givony. However, his 115 turnovers were the second-most among D1 players.
  • Auburn forward Allen Flanigan, a projected second-round pick, has decided to return to school for his junior season rather than entering the draft, he tells Givony. “The tremendous unwavering support these fans and university show is one of a kind and one of the best in the country,” Flanigan said. “The NBA has always been my lifelong dream and goal, but I couldn’t pass up being a part of something special.”
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has updated his big board for the 2021 NBA draft, writing that you could make a reasonable case for any of Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, or Jalen Suggs as the No. 2 player in this year’s class. Wasserman ultimately gives Green that spot, with Cade Cunningham continuing to hold the No. 1 place on the board.