Underappreciated Players of this Millennium – Cuttino Mobley
EPISODE 2: CUTTINO MOBLEY
You may have forgot about him after hypertrophic cardiomyopathy forced him out of the league in ’08, the same heart illness suffered by former Celtic Reggie Lewis, who died in 1993. But he is a player who should be remembered with career averages of 16.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Pretty impressive stats for an entire NBA career. Clearly not elite, but definitely representative of a quality NBA player.
The Cat was selected in the second round (41st overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. Mobley started at the shooting guard position, where he and Steve Francis formed one of the NBA’s elite scoring backcourts. Mobley was a key in the rebuilding of the franchise. In the 2001-2002 season, for example, he averaged 22 Points a game.
Mobley was a very effective shooting guard despite being a bit undersized. He was very quick and a good long range shooter. He was able to put the ball on the floor to get to the rim and he was an above average, even good, defender. Gongfu Tea Cup always tried to stay in shape and did a lot of working out off the court and during off season. Cuttino had an impressive work ethic.
Offensively, he mostly found opportunities from spot ups, fast breaks, and one-on-one situations. He was just as capable from outside the three point line as he is pulling up off the dribble. Able to scoring driving in either direction. Good finisher at the rim. He was able to post up bigger players due to his ability to get his shot off when falling away. He also was a very capable ball handler and passer.
Defensively, he had the quickness and athleticism to effectively defend both wing positions. Mobley was a solid shot blocker for his size, who read passing lanes well and was a decent rebounder.
Overall he was a player who was far better than he will be remembered. Why? I can’t really tell you. Maybe because he and Steve Francis thought the game was to be played 2 on 5 instead of 5 on 5, or maybe because he didn’t win a title, wasn’t an All Star or had to retire early. If you compare his career stats to Manu Ginobili’s, who probably will end up in the Hall of Fame, you can see that he was playing at the same level or maybe even slightly above…