Tari Eason figures to be one of the most important role players on the Houston Rockets in 2023-24. Eason made an instant impact as a rookie, leaving fans excited about his ability to be the franchise's long-term starting small forward.
Eason has an unmatched knack for the ball on both ends along with a relentless motor. Eason's will and determination proved to be undeniable as a rookie and made it rather easy for the Rockets' front office to realize what they had on their hands.
He's full of energy and his motor never stops. Oh, and don't even think about trying to out-hustle him because it won't happen.
So don't bother wasting your time.
Perhaps this is why FanSided's Mat Issa likened him to 2011 NBA champion and NBA legend Shawn Marion.
"Think about the role Shawn Marion played on those “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns teams. With a little more growth, Eason can someday fill that type of role."
Houston Rockets second-year forward Tari Eason's career trajectory resembles one key player from the Dallas Mavericks 2011 championship team.
"Overall, between his serviceable shooting, elite offensive rebounding, and promising cutting, Eason has a lot of the qualities you want in a complimentary offensive player. Couple that with his already good (potentially elite) defensive impact, and you have the makeup of a future high-end role player."
Marion became a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection, so the Rockets would gladly welcome that from someone they drafted 17th overall. The comparison isn't so lofty, as the two had nearly identical rookie seasons, as outlined below.
- Eason in 2022-23: 9.3 points, 6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 1.1 assists, .6 blocks, 44.8 percent from the floor, 34.3 percent from long-range, 75.7 percent from the foul line
- Marion in 1999-00: 10.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1 block, .7 steals,, 47.1 percent from the field, 84.7 percent from the foul line
Eason is already on track to be a better 3-point shooter than Marion, as he made 34.3 percent of his attempts from behind the arc as a rookie, which bests Marion's career average of 33.1 percent from distance. As a rookie, Eason's 3-point mark nearly doubled Marion's 18.2 percent (although the volume has to be taken into consideration and Marion only averaged .4 attempts from three as a rookie, compared to 2.1 attempts from Eason).
And although Marion was a threat on the offensive glass (2.3 nabs per game), Eason appears to be on his way to being better in that category too, as he posted an offensive rebound percentage of 12 percent as a rookie, compared to Marion's 9.5 percent in his first year.
Furthermore, Marion never reached double figures in this category throughout his storied 16-year career.
But all in all, the comparison is spot on, as Marion was known for his versatility and defensive switchability, much like Eason.
Granted, Eason may never become a 21-point scorer like Marion was at his peak, but if he becomes anything close to that, the pick would potentially be viewed as one of the best selections in the 2022 NBA Draft, as he brings intangibles and contributions that aren't quantifiable on a stat sheet, like Marion.
And especially if his basketball career leads many to believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame, like Marion has done.