The SEC’s 6th Man of the Year winner and an All-SEC First Team recipient, Tari Eason exploded as a transfer from Cincinnati at LSU. As a sophomore, Eason averaged 17 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1 APG, 2 SPG, 1 BPG, and 2.2 TOPG on shooting splits of 52/36/80. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Tari Eason
Wingspan/ standing reach: N/A
Hand size: N/A
Pre-Draft team: LSU
Tools: Athleticism, length, versatility
- Switchable on D thanks to plus lateral quickness
- Hard to push off his spot defensively
- Excellent athlete
- Great in transition
- Can blow by defenders and separate on drives
- Comfortable with both hands
- Draws many fouls and is comfortable taking contact
- Upside as a playmaker and shot creator
- Natural cutter
- Forces turnovers easily on defense; active hands
- Jumper needs to be more fluid
- Low release on jump shot
- Needs to reduce turnovers
- Should tighten handle a bit more
- Struggles on movement jumpers
- Relies on his strength too much at times
- Must improve in quick offense scoring; panics at times in quick offense
Tari Eason is a physical scorer with high-level defense, upside as a creator and playmaker, and a high-level athlete that can finish at the rim well in both the half-court and in transition.
As a scorer, Eason thrives on powerful drives towards the rim with good touch at the rim. He should draw fouls and use his strong, NBA ready frame to his advantage as a slasher pretty quickly in the NBA. He has good handles on the move with room to improve, a quick first step, and athleticism to finish above and around defenders.
The main concern as a scorer for Eason is his awkward jump shot form. He has an odd wind-up into his release, which overall has good touch with a strong follow-through. He can be a bit inconsistent in having wild jump shot misses, as well as floater misses that go far too high. Cleaning up the wild shots will do him wonders as a shooter, since the 3 point shooting and free throw shooting numbers indicate being a safe shooter with room to improve.
Despite these strengths, Eason’s play style was a bit awkward and unlikely to be a clean 1:1 translation to the NBA. He took a lot of flash possessions, where he caught the ball at the free throw line against a zone, then took a jump shot, took a one dribble floater or layup, or passed to an open shooter/cutter. Forwards don’t play that play style much in the NBA, so finding a more true off-ball role will be intriguing to track.
Defensively, Tari Eason has a strong upside in both shutting down creation in the half-court, and forcing turnovers with his strength and active hands. Eason has quick feet to handle and shut down drives, with a long frame and dominant strength. He also is fearless in using his quick hands at any spot on the court to force turnovers and turn defense into offense. Should this combination of lockdown defense flashes and turnover-forcing flashes turn into full-time occurrences, Eason could become a near All-Defense candidate.
Overall, if Eason can develop his game, become even more consistent from 3, improve quick offensive creation and scoring ability, and learn how to play without relying on his strength as often, he can become a starter-caliber player that can provide good value from his draft slot.
Similar to: Patrick Williams, DeAndre Hunter
Projected draft range: 6-14
Expected role: Two-way combo forward that can score at the rim and 3 point range at a high level.
Unplayable if: Jump shooting hitch limits his shooting translation and random inconsistencies become the norm. Additionally, if he relies on his strength too much without learning to be a finesse player, he will be limited offensively.
Exceeds expectations if: Jump shooting cleanly translates and he adds even more skill as a slasher while refining his ball handling skill.