Tari Eason looked like the best rookie on the Rockets through games for the team this summer. The preseason will reveal a lot more, but the rookie looks primed and ready to go.
Is Tari Eason going to be a better player for the Rockets than Jabari Smith in the long run? Almost assuredly not, although it isn't completely out of the question.
Could Eason be a better player for the Rockets than Smith in the short term? That seems to be much more on the table.
Eason looked damn good during his Summer League performamces. The three-point shooting was a little streaky, but the rookie should be fine in this regard if he can avoid taking nine shots from beyond the arc in a game like he did early on.
To be fair to the rookie, it's easy to get carried away in these early opportunities, and his performances in other areas more than made up for this.
Eason generally scored at will and played good defense, so it makes sense that some people are already projecting him to be a starter for the Rockets in 2022. That might still be a bit of a stretch, but it makes sense that people are already going there.
Eason's biggest competition for minutes right now is veteran Jae'Sean Tate. The Rockets did just pay Tate and seem to be posturing that they see him as a starter again in 2022 (hopefully playing in a position that is a little more size-friendly), and it would take a lot from Eason to shift his positioning.
He might not begin the year out as a starter, but it is fair to reason that he could end the year in this role if he plays like he did during the Summer League and Tate struggles with his shot.
A lot can change in the coming months. Either way, Tari Eason was a Hell of a pick.
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