The New Orleans Pelicans will have the 8th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and have a lot of options for how to use it.
They don’t have a glaring positional weakness, so they will likely just take the best player available and there should be some good ones in that range.
One player who is being largely overlooked by national media is Tari Eason, a local prospect out of LSU, who has been wowing scouts lately in workouts with his athleticism, strength and shooting.
Eason is not getting much national attention as a top-10 prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he has the makeup to be the sleeper of the draft, just as Herbert Jones was last year.
Pelicans draft: Tari Eason’s strength and weaknesses
As you can see from the drills above, Eason already has an NBA frame and is a very good athlete who can play above the rim.
But he also shot nearly 36 percent from 3-point range last season and is a very good defender who has the agility and strength to defend on the perimeter or in the post.
He’s already 21-years-old, so would be ready to come in and make an impact on both ends right away, much like Herb Jones this season.
Eason made a huge leap this season, and is a smart player who knows his weaknesses and what he needs to work on to succeed at the next level.
Eason does need to work on his shooting, as he is not much of a creator on offense, so will need to be able to hit the catch-and-shoot 3-pointer and to get buckets off slashing to the hoop.
2022 NBA Draft: How Tari Eason fits the New Orleans Pelicans
I really like Eason’s demeanor, as he is an affable guy off the court but has a little dawg in him on it, very much like the guys in the Pelicans’ locker room.
He’s a versatile defender who would give them a ton of lineup possibilities and he’d be able to back up both Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, which would give the Pelicans some insurance against injuries.
He wouldn’t need to be a creator on the Pelicans, where all he would be asked to do would be to buy-in on defense, run the floor and hit 3-point shots. These are all things Eason can do, and I do think his athleticism is going to turn a lot of heads at the draft combine.
Could the Pelicans hit on the sleeper of the draft two years in a row? Eason would be a nice option who could give them a lot on both ends right away.