The similarities between Isaiah Mobley and his brother Evan are apparent upon first seeing them. There’s no mistaking that they’re brothers from their quiet and calm demeanors to the way they move on and off the court. The resemblances are striking.
This isn’t lost on his teammates, including Chandler Vaurdrin. Vaudrin played with Evan at Summer League 2021 and Isaiah in 2022.
“They’re both reserved kids,” says Vaurdin. “When you get them together, they’re always huddled together on their own. It’s just that family feel. They’ve played with each other on every team their whole lives.”
Getting a chance to share the court again with his brother wasn’t something Isaiah was going to let slip by.
“Definitely, I’m glad I was able to come here,” Isaiah said when asked about being reunited with Evan. “There were other options on the table, but I’m glad I chose to come here and it worked out. Evan aside, the Cavs are a family group so I’m grateful for that.”
Despite being happy to be reunited with his brother, Isaiah isn’t one to give too much details about their relationship. When asked to share any advice Evan gave him before training camp Isaiah responds with, “He didn’t say much.” When asked what he said to his brother after Evan’s ridiculous fadeaway over the Orlando Magic’s Bol Bol, Isaiah stoically replies “good job.”
That same reluctance to divulge any information came up again when asked about what their relationship was like growing up or what they do away from the basketball court as the interview began to sound more like an interrogation.
Fear the Sword: Did you get the better of your brother in one-on-one growing up?
Isaiah Mobley: I mean yeah, we would go back and forth. No one really kept score or track of who had the most wins.
Fear the Sword: When was the first time he was able to beat you?
Isaiah Mobley:I don’t know. In late high school things would get close.
Fear the Sword: Are you guys competitive in anything else away from the court?
Isaiah Mobley: Board games.
Fear the Sword: What games are you guys into?
Isaiah Mobley: Sorry and Monopoly sometimes. Things like that.
Fear the Sword: Who’s better in those games?
Isaiah Mobley: It’s hard to say, there’s a lot of outside factors that go into it.
The soft-spoken demeanor Isaiah shares with his brother doesn’t translate over to the court according to fellow two-way player Mamadi Diakite.
“The first day of [Charge] training camp we were in the middle of the workout,” Diakite said.. “Guys weren’t understanding what was going on and he stopped them. He was vocal enough to send out a message everyone understood.”
Being more vocal and a leader is one of the areas of growth the Charge want to see from the rookie. “Isaiah is very vocal and we’re encouraging him to be like that,” says Charge director of G League operations Brendon Yu. “We’re encouraging him to help bring guys along. A lot of these guys that are starting training camp haven’t been around. You [Isaiah] know what’s expected better than them. Help them, bring them along, teach them, pull them aside. We want him to be vocal and he’s way more vocal than ever.”
“He’s dove right in,” says Charge head coach and former Cleveland Cavaliers’ director of player development Mike Gerrity echoing Yu’s comments. “I think it’s really neat because he has a lot of leadership qualities coming in and getting an opportunity to see him put those into play with this group that we have. It’s been really neat.”
“They’re similar but different,” says his teammate Vaurdrin when asked to compare the two brothers. “Evan can do some crazy stuff that normal players can’t. Isaiah is a very heady player. He knows how to play the game of basketball. He has a really high IQ. He’s not the fastest player but he uses his body well and he’s a little bit bigger of a body than Evan is.”
Isaiah’s feel for the game is one of the things the organization likes most and wants him to continue making improvements in.
“We’ve got certain metrics for Isaiah that we want him to meet. It’s not just, hey, we want you to score 14 points or we want you to grab 10 rebounds a game. It’s a little bit more deep,” says Yu when asked how the organization will be monitoring his progress.
“What’s the percentage of reading a close out that ends in a good situation or incites an advantage? Or, what’s percentage of defensive closeouts that you’re able to get a stop on? It’s a little bit complicated or a little bit deeper than you might think, but seeing him improve in those areas is what we want. For example, can you make the right read 60% of the time in November, and then in January, it’s 75% of the time. That’s what we’re tracking.”
The other things Isaiah will be working on is his outside shot and his playmaking which he feels are his best skill. “Getting the rebound off the rim and pushing it as well as being put into short roles opportunities where I can create for others or myself is one of my best attributes,” says Isaiah.
Despite those tangible goals, Isaiah’s main focus is to win in the G League. The rest will take care of itself. “Winning first of all. There will be different circumstances with the Charge. This is a development opportunity. Some games I might be working on some things and I’m not necessarily going to just be a stat chasing guy. If I help the team win then I’m satisfied. Obviously I might miss shots or whatever, but the goal at the end of the day is to win and that’s what’s most important.”