2022 NBA Draft profile: LSU’s Tari Eason could be a steal for Sixers

The 2022 NBA draft will take place on Thursday 23 June. Since the networks have decided to defer the selection owed to them in the James Harden deal, the sixes will select 23rd overall. Before drafting, we’ll be looking at several prospects that fit the Sixers and could represent realistic possibilities at No. 23.

LSU’s Tari Eason is a talented winger who is arguably the best defenseman in this draft.

Eason has an impressive track record. He played under former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy in his freshman two years of high school before transferring to Federal Way High School, where he played alongside Jaden McDaniels. He spent two years at LSU, where he was named First Team All-SEC and SEC Sixth Man of the Year. He averaged career highs across the board; 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in 24.4 minutes of play.

offense

Tari Eason made some progress offensively in his sophomore season. Eason is a good ball handler for his height at 6-foot-8. He’s more than capable in transition and has solid footwork while finishing on the edge. He knows how to use his 7-foot wingspan and his highlights often show the bounce he has. One of the most impressive developments was Eason’s ability to hit the line at 5.7 attempts per game – one of the highest rates in college basketball.

His percentages last season (52.1 field goal, 35.9 three points) look good on paper, but his shot may need some refinement at the next level. It looks a little mechanical and he shoots the ball out next to his head at a low release point. The offensive advantage is there, but he’s still overly dependent on straight-line speed and feels absolutely uncomfortable finishing with his offhand. Eason needs to improve as a passer as he averaged just 1 assist versus 2.2 turnovers. Most NBA teams won’t ask him to make a lot of play early in his career, but it’s something worth noting in his potential advantage.

defense

This is where Tari Eason shines. Eason was LSU’s sixth man and was often tasked with protecting the opposition’s strongest offensive talent. He’s been blocking shots at a high rate over the past year and interfering in the fast lanes. I would argue that Eason has enough size and rebound ability to play both forward pitches. In fact, he was an above-average offensive rebounder for his size.

Like most talented defenders, Eason suffers from ill-timed gambles, which can lead to a defensive collapse or outright fouling. Eason fouled in seven games last season coming off the bench, averaging just about 24 minutes per game. Although there is still room for improvement, Eason is arguably the most complete defensive player in this draft.

position adjustment

Eason would fit this current Sixers roster like a glove. The Sixers have been lacking an athletic forward with size since Glenn Robinson III in 2020, and they’ve been in dire need of one on defense ever since. The Eastern Conference features a variety of talent on the wing including Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler and Kevin Durant to name a few. Eason’s attacking game still needs work, but there’s a good chance he could develop into a two-way talent.

LSU even let Eason play in the middle position for many minutes. While NBA centers are a very different breed than college centers, this is just another testament to how versatile Eason is on the defensive end. You could make some pretty interesting little ball lineups with him on the five!

draft projection

There doesn’t seem to be much consensus on where exactly Eason will go. There are bill designs where he is picked between mid lottery and around 20. If I had to go by any guesswork, I’d say he’ll likely end up in the late lottery somewhere — teams can’t get enough of double talent. Already a great defender, Eason has shown offensive potential.

My guess would be that the Sixers would have to trade at least until the late lottery to get him. However, we all know firsthand how talented players *cough* Maxey *cough* can get lost in the chaotic environment of the NBA draft. Crazier things have happened!

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