Rockets' stud guns for fan favorite with latest quote

Houston Rockets Tari Eason
Houston Rockets Tari Eason / Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Tari Eason was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 17th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. He played all 82 games and even started five games.

So, he got a lot of experience last season, even if it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows 24/7.

Eason is a vital part of this basketball team and the future they have in place. He will be a guy that will help build something special over the next few years, even if he isn't the centerpiece.

The Rockets love what he brings to the table and value him. So, why would a guy like that, who is entering his second season, play in the Summer League?

Rockets' stud guns for fan favorite with latest quote

"For me, I was just ready to play basketball," Eason told The Athletics' Kelly Iko.

Eason stated that he and fellow 2022 first-round draftee Jabari Smith Jr., who Smith stated are best friends, discussed the possibility of playing in the Summer League, and both were on board.

We said we just wanted to go out there and be the two best players in summer league if we play. We did that.

Smith stated the same, adding that the coaching staff approached the two of them about playing in Vegas, which both were excited about.

Eason continued with Iko, elaborating on the difference between the Summer League practices this year compared to last summer under the old coaching regime.

I can really say that the difference between last year and this year's practice is the intensity. Guys are getting after it, diving on the floor.

It was a real practice. It felt like a real practice, like I was almost back in college.

I told the guys before we even got there that it was a really good team, so credit to those guys as well."

Eason played a new role while in Vegas. This time, he was the experienced guy leading his team instead of being the rookie that the vets led.

Now Eason isn't a vet yet, because one year in the league doesn't make you a veteran. He still has a lot to learn about the league; however, he played the role in the summer.

"I like to be a leader that tries to lead by example," Eason continued. "I'm someone who'd rather show you how I work."

The Rockets have something special in Eason, even if he isn't the guy getting talked about a ton. He was drafted after third overall pick Jabari Smith Jr., so sometimes that overshadows his game.

However, Eason is already mature. From his conversations about mental health in his rookie season to leading the younger guys in Summer League, you can already tell that Eason was the right selection just a year into the experiment.