Pistons draft: Potential sleeper in the 2022 NBA Draft

Tari Eason talks to the media during the 2022 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Tari Eason talks to the media during the 2022 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons received the 5th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but could end up with two picks in the top-10.

It has been widely rumored that the Portland Trail Blazers want to make a move for Jerami Grant this offseason that would almost certainly have to include their 7th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

While I do see the benefit for both teams, it seems an awful lot for Portland to give up for a one-year rental and would give the Detroit Pistons an extremely young roster that would likely take a step backwards.

But the idea of adding two top-10 picks is enticing, as the Detroit Pistons could potentially get a replacement for Jerami Grant and add a top-tier guard to pair with Cade Cunningham.

So far Pistons fans have argued ad nauseam about the merits of Shaedon Sharpe, Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murry as the top choices for the 5th pick, and when it comes to who they’d take with the 7th, opinions are all over the place, but Bennedict Mathurin, AJ Griffin and Jalen Duren are the names I’ve heard most often.

One guy whose name hasn’t been mentioned much is forward Tari Eason from LSU, who could end up being one of the sleepers of the 2022 NBA Draft.

Pistons draft: Tari Eason’s strengths and weaknesses

Tari Eason is a 6-foot-8 forward out of LSU who averaged 16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in one season after transferring from Cincinnati. Here are his measurables from the combine:

But Eason isn’t just a big athlete. He shot 52 percent from the field overall and 36 percent from 3-point range on 2.4 attempts per game this season. He also shot 80 percent from the line, so is a guy who projects to have a pretty good 3-point shot at the next level.

Where Eason really stands out is on the defensive end, where he projects to be a guy who can guard three positions in the NBA. He’s quick, strong, long and athletic and is very good at getting into passing lanes for steals and blocking shots from the weak side.

You can see from these defensive highlights that Eason is not only tenacious at that end, but can take it the other way and finish off his own steals and blocks. He defends 1-5 in these highlights and is equally comfortable on the perimeter and in the post.

He’s not a great playmaker off the bounce, but is a guy who gets most of his points in the flow of the game. Eason does have funky shot mechanics that may need adjusting at the next level, as he shoots the ball too low and close to his face, something he’ll have to work on.

He’s a potential 3-and-D combo forward with athleticism who could be the perfect fit on the type of position-less roster the Detroit Pistons are building.

2022 NBA Draft: How Tari Eason fits on the Detroit Pistons

Eason is a Troy Weaver guy through and through, as he is versatile and dedicated on the defensive end.

The Detroit Pistons already have some playmakers in Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes, so it makes sense to surround them with big defenders who can shoot, and Eason fits the profile.

He would not only improve the defense, but is a plus rebounder and an above-the-rim athlete who can finish in transition, something the Pistons lack.

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He’s reportedly a hard worker who understands his weaknesses and how to improve them, which has impressed the NBA teams he has interviewed and worked out with so far in the combine, which so far includes the Spurs and the Rockets.

He’s provided some “wow” moments for scouts, some of who are now projecting him as a top-10 talent in this draft.

He might be the guy from the 2022 NBA Draft that we look back at and wonder how so many teams missed on him.

He’s got the size, athleticism and intangibles to be sleeper pick for the Detroit Pistons if they end up with a second first-round selection in the 2022 NBA Draft.

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