Cuttino Mobley was taken with the 41st pick of the 1998 draft by the Houston Rockets. Before I go on, I’ll cut to the chase. It was an absolute steal by the Rockets gaining the services of Mobley at such a late draft pick. In his rookie year, Mobley showed enough to suggest he had a bright future with the Rockets. He averaged 9.9 points per game and looked comfortable at the elite level of the NBA. The next season Mobley would explode taking his scoring averages to 15.8 points per game and formed a great backcourt duo with the new rookie sensation Steve Francis. The two would create an exciting combination for the next few years.
The left-handed Mobley had an offensive arsenal that would make defenders very nervous. He could post you up, shoot the 3-ball, slash to the basket and was also a very high percentage free throw shooter. It didn’t take long for the talents of Mobley to shine through with the Rockets, as he took his scoring averages from 19.5 points per game in 2001, to 21.7 points per game in 2002. To the casual basketball fan, Mobley probably slid under the radar as ‘Stevie Franchise’ was gaining world-wide notoriety as he became an NBA All-Star. However to the die-hard NBA fans, you could not deny Mobley’s talents at the highest level.
Mobley’s time in Houston came to an end in 2004, when both himself and Francis were traded to the Orlando Magic in order for the Rockets to land Tracy McGrady. Mobley would be moved on by the Magic mid-season to the Sacramento Kings which must have been nothing short of disruptive. Mobley however, still put up solid numbers as his career started to take some dramatic twists. Mobley was traded again from the Kings to the Los Angeles Clippers where he would spend his remaining four seasons. He still put up solid numbers for the Clippers averaging 14.8, 13.8, 12.8 and 13.7 points per game in the four seasons he had there. Sadly Mobley’s career was suddenly cut short as he was in the process of being traded to the Knicks, it was discovered that he had a heart condition that forced him to retire immediately.
It was a career cut a little short for a man who played the game using majestic old school fundamentals. I remember watching many games in which Mobley would back his man down in the post with pure technique and a nice shooting touch. He certainly rates as an NBA icon as his career numbers demonstrate: 16.0 points per game, field goal percentage of 43% and he shot 38% from 3-point range.
Cuttino Mobley still has game at the age of 41, as he has recently been seen playing in the Drew League competitions and holding his own against the likes of James Harden and DeMar DeRozan.
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