TNT’s Ernie Johnson sees Rockets rookie Tari Eason as underrated

The Houston Rockets finished the 2022-23 season with the NBA’s second-worst record (22-60), but they certainly weren’t devoid of bright spots. One of those was Tari Eason, an energetic rookie forward from LSU drafted at No. 17 overall in the 2022 first round.

The athletic 6-foot-8 forward averaged 9.3 points (44.8% FG, 34.3% on 3-pointers) and 6.0 rebounds in 21.5 minutes, and he brings enough versatility to provide loads of defensive value, as well.

On a national level, the Rockets didn’t get a lot of coverage this season, but one person who noticed Eason’s contributions was Ernie Johnson, the longtime host of TNT’s Inside the NBA.

As part of an extended question-and-answer (Q&A) session with Bryan Kalbrosky of USA TODAY’s For The Win, Johnson said:

Kalbrosky: Who are some underrated players in the league who aren’t getting enough shine?

Johnson: When I was voting for NBA All-Rookie, Houston’s Tari Eason caught my eye. It’s easy to overlook teams that have had bad years. But he had nearly as good of a year as any rookie. Jabari Smith came in with all the hype, but Tari Eason was right there with him in terms of just getting a spot for NBA All-Rookie.

The complete Q&A with Johnson can be viewed here. As for the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team and Second Team and whether Eason and Smith fit in, those should be released in the coming days.


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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire