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Tari Eason

(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Tari Eason Is Becoming a Dangerously Underrated Prospect

Tari Eason
(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Tari Eason Is Becoming a Dangerously Underrated Prospect

In the 2022 NBA Draft, the top forward prospects will all come off the board almost right away. Teams looking to bolster their frontcourt in the late lottery will still have plenty of options – Duke’s AJ Griffin, Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan, and LSU’s Tari Eason among others. Eason was getting a little bit of top 10 hype a few weeks ago, but he has since begun to slide in consensus prospect rankings. He’s starting to become dangerously underrated.

Massive Defensive Upside

One of the big draws to Tari Eason is his defensive versatility. The LSU sophomore is capable of guarding anyone 1-4 plus some smaller 5s. He is a phenomenal athlete (both laterally and vertically) with very impressive physical measurements. His high motor contributed to generating 3.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per 40 minutes last season plus plenty of transition opportunities.

Reports have surfaced that Eason may be slipping down draft boards because of perceived deficiencies in his basketball IQ.

If you are a GM choosing to pass on an elite defensive prospect who balled out last season because he isn’t a big film guy, I think that’s a bad call. Eason has the production and the ability to warrant selection in the lottery.

Work to Do on Offense, But Not Bad

Offensively, Eason isn’t very polished. He has a hitch in his jumper that makes him rather unreliable as a consistent threat from outside. However, he still managed to score 16 points per game last season on good efficiency and has plenty of upside as an off-ball slasher. I know for a fact he offers more on the offensive end than Jeremy Sochan and about 80% of the defensive versatility. In my mind, Eason is the far more complete prospect.

There’s definitely work for Eason to do when it comes to handling or shooting off the dribble, but he puts enough pressure on the rim that I’m willing to cut him a little slack with the jumper. He may be fairly one-dimensional on the offensive end, but he looked really good in that one dimension and flashed other facets that can develop with time.

If Eason slips to the middle of the first round on draft night, he could be a huge steal. He has the physical tools, the motor, the defensive ability, and enough offensive juice to succeed as an NBA player.

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