The Cavaliers have won 26 consecutive regular season games, but they had a scare in the first round of the playoffs. During Game 1 against Toronto, Cavs star forward Cade Cunningham fouled out and was replaced on-court by rookie guard Evan Mobley.

The “cade cunningham weight” is a topic that has been making headlines recently. Cade Cunningham, the Cavs superstar guard, says he doesn’t need to worry about Evan Mobley’s stunning play because he can’t play his game better than he can.

Cade Cunningham Isn't Worried About Evan Mobley's Stunning Play, Says the Cavs Star Can't Play His Game Better Than He Can

Cade Cunningham entered the NBA Draft in 2021 as the next possible franchise player for a club to build around. However, other rookies, notably Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley, have subsequently proved to have just as much star power.

Mobley is now the frontrunner to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. After being one of the league’s weakest teams for the previous three years, he has helped the Cavs evolve into an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Cunningham, the outstanding guard for the Detroit Pistons, is hot on his tail and has a chance to take the No. 1 place.

But he doesn’t seem concerned about being compared to Mobley’s accomplishments.

In the contest for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham are neck and neck.

Cleveland Cavaliers star Evan Mobley and Detroit Pistons star Cade Cunningham.

Cleveland Cavaliers star Evan Mobley and Detroit Pistons star Cade Cunningham. On Nov. 12, 2021, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Evan Mobley shoots over Detroit Pistons’ Cade Cunningham at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. | Getty Images/Jason Miller

Evan Mobley has been the Rookie of the Year favorite for the most of the season.

His offensive presence has been a dependable weapon in the paint and from mid-range for the surging Cavaliers. He averages 15.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, while shooting 51.0 percent of the time. Mobley, who was recently hailed by future Hall of Famer Rajon Rondo, will be just the fourth rookie in NBA history to average at least 15.0, 8.0, and 2.5 if his stats hold up, according to Sports Illustrated.

However, the USC product’s defense has been a big factor for the Cavs’ 30-20 start.

Mobley is not only averaging 1.7 blocks per game, but he also has 2.5 defensive win shares, which is a measure of how many victories his defense has contributed to the Cavaliers this season. This is the most common number among rookies. He’s also the rookie leader in defensive box-plus-minus, which measures how many defensive points Mobley adds over the average player per 100 possessions. In that area, he has a 1.7, which is tied for 14th in the NBA.

Cade Cuningham has been dominating lately, despite the fact that Mobley has been good throughout the year.

The Oklahoma State product is averaging 16.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists for the Pistons despite a historically poor start (he’s still shooting 39.7% from the floor). Cunningham has scored 17.9 points on 43.1 percent shooting in his previous 25 games.

In January, the guard guided his 12-37 Pistons to a 7-9 record, including a 115-105 victory against Mobley’s Cavaliers.

Cade Cunningham seems unconcerned with Evan Mobley.

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Despite the Cavs’ surprising defeat to the Pistons on Jan. 30, Evan Mobley and Cade Cunningham both had strong performances. He recorded 18 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and three blocks in the first game. He also made 7 of 12 field goals.

Cunningham, on the other hand, finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals for his second triple-double of the season. However, he only made 6-of-21 shots from the field.

Cunningham was full of praise for his fellow rookie after the game.

“He’s big-time,” he said to Bally Sports Detroit. “I’ve always been a fan of his game. He can do so many things so well. So, I’m happy to see him doing his thing here in the league now.”

He didn’t seem concerned, though, about how successful the big guy is.

“I can’t play Mobley’s game better than him, and he can’t play my game better than me,” he said, per The Athletic’s James Edwards III. “I just have to focus on myself. … When you focus on the narrative, your mind is not in the right place.”

Evan Mobley has a greater chance of winning Rookie of the Year than anybody else.

On Sunday, Cade Cunningham and the Pistons won, but Evan Mobley still has a better chance of winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

Given his position on a good Cavs team, he’ll likely play in more games and on a bigger stage than Cunningham for the remainder of the season. He’s also a lot more effective on offense. Making 51.0 percent of his shots vs Cunningham’s 39.7% might make a difference in the end outcome.

Cunningham has a 12.7 player efficiency rating, while Mobley has a 16.0.

Sure, other players might make a run for Rookie of the Year. Scottie Barnes and Franz Wagner have both performed well. But, for the time being, Mobley is the favorite, and he will most certainly remain so if his outstanding performance continues.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

RELATED: The Orlando Magic are hoping that Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, both rookies, can outperform No. 1 Cade Cunningham.

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