One NBA executive who spoke to Hoops Wire said he views USC big man Evan Mobley as more center than power forward.
“Our scouting guys aren’t sold on (Mobley) playing the four,” the exec said. “Positions are determined by defense and that’s how he should be ranked.”
The exec said that he could envision Mobley defending opposing centers, mentioning the Suns’ Deandre Ayton as an example. But the exec added that Mobley doesn’t seem to have the tools to go out on the floor and guard the likes of the Warriors’ Draymond Green, Nets’ Kevin Durant, Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo or Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, to name a few.
“That, to me, makes (Mobley) a center,” the exec told Hoops Wire, “not a power forward.”
Offensively, the exec said Mobley does remind him a little bit of former Raptors and Heat big man Chris Bosh, “though obviously not nearly that accomplished yet.”
The exec stressed he didn’t intend to devalue Mobley’s draft stock, calling him “top three or four in talent.” Rather, he was just debunking the idea that Mobley is a natural power forward.
“I think you could maybe turn him into one, but you’d better be willing to be patient,” the exec said. “He’s the top center prospect in the draft and the best one to come around in some time. But we don’t think he’s a four.”
Mobley is expected to be selected in the top three of the draft, either likely to the Rockets at No. 2 overall or Cavs at No. 3. Both of those teams have young centers with which they appear to be pleased — Christian Wood with Houston and Jarrett Allen in Cleveland. ‘
Allen, of course, is a restricted free agent, but the Cavs are expected to either re-sign him before anyone else gets a chance, or quickly match any opposing offers.
How Mobley would fit with either team, though, remains a question. Still, the rival exec said that shouldn’t deter a team such as the Rockets or Cavs from taking him.
“If you think he has more star potential than anyone else available (when you’re picking), then you take him, regardless of his true position,” the exec said. “You can figure out the rest later.”
Mobley is 7-foot-0 and spent one season at USC, averaging 16.4 points and 8.7 rebounds, shooting 58 percent from the field. Some draft boards have him ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect, behind only Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, expected to go first to the Pistons.