Tari Eason has been one of the most impressive breakout players in all of college basketball this season for a very dangerous LSU team.
The Cincinnatti transfer has made an immediate impact on his new team, leading the Tigers in scoring, blocks, field goal percent, and offensive rebounds. His plus size, athleticism, creative slashing/finishing ability, and high motor on the glass make him a first-round lock and potential lottery pick for me, which is higher than most.
Here’s where he ranks in some recent boards I found around the internet:
- ESPN Rank: 36th
- Tankathon Rank: 16th
- Bleacher Report: 20th
- Zona Hoops Rank: 11th
- Sports Illustrated: Unranked (!)
- Game Theory Pod: ~Late-1st
Tari Eason- Forward, 6’8″ (LSU) ~220 lbs. – 20 years old
Role: Defensive Playmaker + Slasher
- PPG: 15.6
- RPG: 7.3
- APG: 1.0
- SPG: 1.5
- BPG: 1.4
- FG%: 52.8
- FT%: 78.9
- 3P%: 26.7
- TS%: 60.0
- FTr: 40.1
Eason has posted a BPM of 14.2 to this point of the season, which is 3rd among qualified Division 1 players only behind Keegan Murray and Zach Edey.
Since 2008, here are players that have had a BPM of 10 or higher, a TS% of 60+ with a STL & BLK rate of 3+ each:
- Zion Williamson (2019)
- Keegan Murray (2022)
- Delon Wright (2014 & 2015)
- Tari Eason (2022)
- Trevion Williams (2022)
- Gary Clark (2018)
- Mikal Bridges (2017)
It’s quite the group, and we’ll see if the 2022 trio of Murray, Eason, and Williams can stick with these numbers for the remainder of the year. Eason is sitting right on the edge of TS% to make the cut.
The Appeal (Defensive Menace + High Motor)
Eason is a 6’8″ forward that has plus athleticism paired with a tremendous feel for the game on the defensive side of the floor. He understands how to use his length to disrupt the offense and completed blow plays up with his defensive playmaking. Tari is very active on the glass, and also operates well out of the dunker’s spot offensively, finding cracks in the defense from time to time.
He has an NBA body and mind already, meaning he’s someone I think you could throw on an NBA court today and he’d figure it out. His defense is going to translate at the next level immediately and he should be a difference-maker right away on that side of the floor.
When he makes plays like this it’s tough to exclude him from your lottery board, because that’s where I’m at with him. Even with some of the offensive concerns in mind.
The Concerns (The Jumper)
The number one thing that stands out like a sore thumb on Eason’s profile is and has been, the three-point shot along with the lack of consistent pull-up shooting. The shot mechanics have been up and down and lacking consistency at times, but there have been some flashes where it seems like he has touch, he just has to get consistent on the release.
So far in his college career, he has attempted 59 total three-pointers and has connected on just 15 of them, good for a mark of 25.4% from deep.
While this is not *bad* form and a pretty solid base/followthrough on the shot, one thing I noticed is that he sort of “pulls” the ball with his wrist when he misses. It seems like most of his misses are long or too strong when he rushes it. Again, not a bad miss, but just something to nitpick at with his inconsistent release.
He has the sound body control and long strides to cover ground quickly in the open court. He is currently shooting 59.8% on two-point field goals and 66% at the rim, both encouraging finishing numbers. The touch he has in transition has my attention.
He can also finish with ferocity at the rim like this bully ball he displays against the smaller defender:
And then you have plays like this, where he absorbs the contact (clear foul that wasn’t called) and finishes a tough shot attacking the rim. In this particular play, he understood the shot clock was at 4 when he caught it so he attacked immediately with a purpose.
Whether or not the offense develops to a consistent level at the next level remains to be seen, but you know at the very least you’re getting a plus defender with terrific size and athleticism. In a draft that is filled with question marks, taking a swing Eason makes a lot more sense than many guys in that mid-to-late 1st round range.
Also keep an eye out for fellow LSU Tiger Alex Fudge, a 6’8″ freshman that has been an extremely impressive defensive playmaker himself. He is likely to be a 2023 guy, but if you watch LSU he’ll likely “pop” just as much as Eason at times.
Potential NBA team fits I like for Tari Eason:
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Denver Nuggets
- Chicago Bulls
- Sacramento Kings
- Dallas Mavericks
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