The next Houston Rockets player in our end-of-year player evaluation series is Tari Eason.
The 2022-23 NBA season has been a wild ride for fans, and one rookie has managed to exceed all expectations: Tari Eason. As the 17th overall pick in the NBA draft, Eason entered the league without too much fanfare. However, the former LSU standout and SEC Sixth Man of the year quickly proved that he was more than just an average rookie.
When Tari Eason was drafted by the Houston Rockets, fans weren't quite sure what to expect from the 17th overall pick. It's safe to say that Eason quickly shattered those uncertainties, as he emerged as a relentless force on the court. The former LSU star demonstrated that he was willing to give 110 percent every night, no matter the opponent or how many minutes he was given.
Eason showcased his commitment to the game by joining K.J. Martin as an iron man, playing in all 82 regular-season games. This level of durability is rare in the NBA, and it speaks to Eason's dedication to his craft and his team.
Not only did Tari Eason stay healthy throughout the season, but he also put up impressive numbers among his fellow rookies. By the end of the season, Eason ranked fifth in rebounds, second in steals, and fifth in blocks among all rookies. These stats are a testament to his hard work and his ability to contribute to the Rockets' success on both ends of the floor.
Grading Tari Eason's rookie debut with the Houston Rockets
The fact that Tari Eason has been able to have a significant effect regardless of the amount of playing time he receives has been one of his most impressive qualities throughout his rookie season. This flexibility and effectiveness is uncommon among rookies and speak to Eason's aptitude and versatility.
A prime example of Eason's impact in limited minutes came on February 1st against the OKC Thunder. In this game, Eason put on a remarkable performance, amassing 20 points, 13 rebounds (12 of them offensive), three steals, and two blocks in under 20 minutes of play.
Eason's performance in this game was nothing short of electric. He demonstrated his ability to provide second-chance opportunities for his team by grabbing a staggering 12 offensive rebounds. This level of offensive tenacity is invaluable, as it allows the Rockets to maintain possession and create additional scoring opportunities.
On the defensive end, Eason was a force to be reckoned with. His three steals and two blocks showcased his exceptional defensive instincts and timing. Moreover, his contributions on both ends of the floor energized his teammates and shifted the momentum of the game in favor of the Rockets.
Tari Eason's impressive rookie season has demonstrated that he has the potential to become an elite two-way player in the NBA. Given the circumstances and the pressure of being a rookie, Eason performed exceptionally well, showcasing his natural talent and commitment to the game.
However, there are always areas where a player can improve, and for Eason, one of those areas is his decision-making on offense. As he gains more experience and develops a better understanding of the game at the professional level, Eason's offensive decision-making is likely to improve.
With guidance from a new coach, input from veteran teammates, and increased opportunities on the court, Eason's potential for growth is vast