Our 2022 NBA Draft scouting report series winds down with a look at Tari Eason, a forward prospect out of LSU.
Tari Eason is a 6’8 wing prospect out of LSU, and could be well in range for the No. 16 pick on draft night. In his lone season with the Tigers, Eason averaged 16.9 points per game to go with 6.6 rebounds. Eason averaged 1.9 steals per game with his length and quickness on the defensive end.
ESPN ranks Eason as the No. 16 overall player in the 2022 class, obviously leaving him around the range where the Atlanta Hawks will be selecting. His defensive versatility would be a welcome addition to a Hawks wing group that has been more offensive focused in recent seasons. Let’s take a deeper dive into Eason’s strength’s and weaknesses.
Eason’s defense should play right away. He’s a switchable defender and a high-level athlete. He’s able to make plays in transition on both ends of the floor, using his burst to get above the rim. He’s also able to use that burst to blow by bigger defenders in the halfcourt.
The wing has also shown some upside as a playmaker on the wing, potentially enough to be a tertiary option to initiate some offense. Eason is comfortable creating a shot for himself and not shy about pushing his inside and getting to the free throw line.
When it comes to raw ability, Eason is one of the more gifted players in the class. There are a lot of things he can do well on the court. Once he adapts to the game at the NBA level, he should be able to contribute as a solid rotation player on both ends.
Eason’s jumper is still a work in progress at this point. He shot a low volume by today’s standards (1.9 attempts per game in two college seasons). In his sophomore season at LSU, Eason did convert 35.9% of his triples across 2.4 attempts per game. Still, Eason is more comfortable inside the arc at this point. He will need to be smoother and more comfortable as a long range shooter in order to maximize his offensive game off of the basketball at the next level.
Offensively, Eason is not the most polished ball-handler or playmaker. He has shown flashes, but is still a bit turnover prone. He can be a bit loose with the ball both as a passer and as a ball-handler. He may become a bit smoother and more deliberate in this areas with time, but as of now he relies on mostly his athletic ability offensively.
Fit with Hawks
Eason seems like a solid fit for the Hawks with the No. 16 pick. He may or may not still be on the board, as he’s right in that mid-1st round range it appears. He would bring defense on the wing along with some promise to be a two-way player. Atlanta sorely needs a quality wing, and while it’s tough to bank on much from a rookie, Eason could come in and offer something on the defensive end early in his career. The offense may take some time.