Evan Mobley named to NBA All-Defensive First Team, sets record

Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, becoming the second-youngest player in league history to receive first-team honors.

At only 21 years, 295 days old at the end of the season, Mobley fell behind Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (21 years, 71 days old at the end of the 1999-00 season).

Mobley is also the third player in Cavaliers history to be selected first team, joining Larry Nance Sr. and LeBron James.

The last NBA player to receive an All-Defensive Team selection in his first or second season was Tim Duncan in 1998-99. Plus, the last to be named first team in his first or second year was Don Buse in 1976-77.

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Moreover, Evan Mobley finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. The San Diego native garnered 49 first-team votes, 34 for the second team, and 132 total votes.

DPOY Jaren Jackson Jr. also made first team, along with DPOY runner-up Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso.

All five players named to the first team received at least 75 of the 100 ballots cast. Dillon Brooks, Jackson’s teammate, was one of five players named to the league’s All-Defensive Second Team.

Additionally, Cavaliers president Koby Altman placed second in NBA Executive of the Year voting as well. Cleveland went 51-31 and finished fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Evan Mobley is the third player in Cavaliers history to be selected NBA All-Defensive First Team, joining Larry Nance Sr. and LeBron James

In 79 starts of the 2022-23 regular season, Mobley averaged career highs of 16.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 34.4 minutes per game. The 7-foot power forward from USC also shot career bests of 55.4% from the floor and 67.4% at the foul line.

Evan Mobley led the NBA in defensive win shares (4.8). He finished 11th in total rebounds (711), sixth in blocks (119), and 14th in 2-point field goals (503). Not to mention, he ranked ninth in minutes played (2,715), 17th in win shares (8.5), 17th in defensive box plus/minus (1.6), fifth in defensive rating (108.2), and 14th in block percentage (4%).

In Cleveland’s 114-102 win over the Bucks on Jan. 21, the forward scored a career-high 38 points in the same number of minutes played. Along with logging nine boards and three assists, Mobley shot 19-of-27 (70.4%) from the field. During the 2023 NBA Playoffs, he averaged 9.8 points, 10 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game.

Furthermore, Mobley became only the fourth player since 1979, when the 3-point line was added, to score 38 or more points without making a free throw or 3-pointer, joining Hakeem Olajuwon, Alex English (twice), and George Gervin.

Evan Mobley was the runner-up to Scottie Barnes for last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year award. The 15-point difference was the smallest voting margin in 19 years since the award’s voting format began in 2002-03. He also finished third in voting for this season’s DPOY.

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