2022 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Surprises Sneak Into Top 10

2022 NBA Mock Draft - Jabari Smith
2022 NBA Mock Draft - Jabari Smith / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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2022 NBA Mock Draft
Tari Eason - LSU v Kentucky / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

LSU. Tari Eason. 14. 170. . . player.

With the 14th overall pick and the final pick in the lottery, the Charlotte Hornets select LSU’s Tari Eason.

I’m fairly certain that several teams will be interested in Eason by draft day if they aren’t already, and it comes down to his defense. More than anything in the upcoming draft, I think the Hornets will be looking for a defensive floor-raiser, and while many have them drafting a rim protector, I think it will be very difficult for them to pass up on Eason at this point.

While the 6’8” sophomore has only started for the Tigers in a grand total of four games this season, I would argue he’s the team’s most impactful two-way player. On defense, his steal and block rates are in the top echelon of college basketball standouts to the point that they’re comparable with those of Matisse Thybulle and Robert Covington. His impact on that end of the floor alone has been enough to win LSU some good games, with one of his most stifling performances coming against Texas A&M. 

Though his potential on offense is nothing to ignore. He’s already one of the better ball-handlers for his size in the NCAA, his shooting numbers have been trending in the right direction recently, and there have been some flashes of a sneaky pull-up game that are getting more difficult to ignore.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Eason is one of the best defense-to-offense players in college basketball regardless of position, and the thought of him running in transition with LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges should make a lot of teams nervous.