The 2022 NBA Draft is about three weeks away, and with the 14th overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the opportunity to add another impact player to their roster.
They are reportedly going to bring in Malaki Branham, who is originally from Columbus, Ohio and went to the same high school as LeBron James in Akron, for a workout.
The Cavs will also take a close look at Tari Eason, a forward who played this season for the Louisiana State University Tigers.
LSU's Tari Eason said he has upcoming workouts scheduled with Cleveland, Memphis and San Antonio. He said he's already worked out for Minnesota, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago, Oklahoma City and New York. This morning, he worked out with Washington.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 6, 2022
Eason stands 6-foot-8 and weighs about 215 pounds, and he primarily plays the power forward position.
He is originally from Virginia, but he spent a good amount of his childhood in the Seattle area, as he first attended Garfield High School, then Federal Way High School.
He started his college career in the 2020-21 season with the University of Cincinnati, and he had a quiet season with the Bearcats, averaging just 7.3 points in 19.6 minutes a game.
This season, after transferring to Louisiana State University, he blossomed quickly.
He not only averaged 16.9 points on 52.1 percent overall shooting and 1.9 steals a game, but he also earned First Team All-SEC and SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors.
Eason is known as a fairly athletic player who excels in transition and is a strong finisher, but his biggest strength is defense.
He can guard multiple positions, and he has good anticipation skills when it comes to getting into the passing lanes to get steals.
Perhaps my highest conviction bet this class is Tari Eason translating as a steals machine. Not only did he have the top steals rate but Tari also made extremely difficult swipes look pedestrian. Only Tari with his length + agility could pull off the first clip here w/o fouling: pic.twitter.com/kgGMHEYl7Y
— draft pow (@DraftPow) June 8, 2022
However, Eason’s offensive game, according to NBAdraft.net, is “in need of refinement,” and although he has good ballhandling skills and can get to the rim, his ability to create his own shot off the dribble is somewhat rudimentary.
One big concern with him is his shooting mechanics – although he made a decent 36 percent of his 3-pointers this season, the release point on his jumper is low and titled to his right, which could be a problem in the NBA.
He also has a tendency to miss layups and close shots in traffic when the game slows down a bit.
NBADraft.net states that a good comparison to him is Marcus Morris, the forward for the Los Angeles Clippers who can score, hit from downtown and defend at a solid level.
How Would Eason Fit In With The Cavs?
Positionally, the Cavs’ biggest need is at the wing position, and Eason’s ability to play both forward spots would help fill that weakness.
His defensive instincts can fit in well on a team that was already one of the NBA’s best on the defensive end, especially given Cleveland’s need for wing defense and how valuable two-way wings in general are these days.
The Cavs were just 26th in the NBA in steals, so Eason could also help in that department.
Another department in which they were lacking was transition play and fast-break points, which would make Eason a nice addition as well.
But Cleveland also needs accurate 3-point shooting, and if Eason won’t be able to hit his outside shot at the NBA level, he may have to earn his playing time the hard way.
Still, he seems like an intriguing prospect who may have upside as a complementary piece.
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