Last week, the SB Nation NBA site managers held their annual mock draft. The rules were simple. We got to select a player we wanted. For simplicity, we were not allowed to trade picks. To read the entire mock draft, click on the link below:
With the No. 10 pick, the Washington Wizards site editors (aka Kevin Broom, Diamond Holton and myself) selected…Tari Eason from Louisiana State University.
Who was selected before Eason?
- Jabari Smith, Jr., F, Auburn (Orlando Magic)
- Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Paulo Banchero, F/C, Duke (Houston Rockets)
- Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue (Sacramento Kings)
- Bennedict Mathurin, F, Arizona (Detroit Pistons)
- Keegan Murray, F, Iowa (Indiana Pacers)
- Dyson Daniels, G/F. G-League Ignite (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky (New Orleans Pelicans)
- Jalen Duren, F, Memphis (San Antonio Spurs)
Why did we select Eason?
Unlike another recent internal mock draft which Kevin, Matt Modderno, John Heiser and Osman Baig participated in, we are not allowed to trade picks. With that in mind, we went with the best player available who also filled some of Washington’s key needs: defense and three point shooting efficiency.
Eason is a 6-8 forward with a 7-2 wingspan who had a successful sophomore season at LSU, where he was named the SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year. Eason’s size will allow him to defend three positions effectively.
On the offensive end, Eason is not known for being a sharpshooter. But his shooting efficiency has improved throughout college. With the right coaching and a solid lead guard like Bradley Beal, Eason has the potential to be a solid three-and-D player that Washington can use for years to come.
And, he’s physically gifted, hyper-competitive and is likely to continue improving. A recent story quoted a scout questioning Eason’s ability to understand team offensive and defensive systems and concepts, which is a concern. But, other candidates for the 10th pick have concerns and flaws of their own, and Eason offers both high-level college production and significant upside.
Why didn’t we select a point guard like … TyTy Washington?
We would have preferred multiple first round picks. And it’s possible Eason could go later than 10th in the actual NBA draft. The Wizards need another point guard on the roster, especially with Tomas Satoransky going back to Spain and the EuroLeague.
However, the Wizards shouldn’t simply draft a point guard (like Washington, who is a good prospect in his own right) and expect him to be another John Wall from day one. Even Wall wasn’t WALL on day one — he needed to learn the NBA game and improve. And the Wizards also believe Beal could be a great lead guard, if that’s what they need him to be.
Wizards president Tommy Sheppard is addressing the media right now, says he feels Bradley Beal is much closer to the player he was two years ago than he was last season. Also, “we have no problem playing Bradley Beal at point guard.”— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) June 20, 2022
Finally, Eason provides a skill set (perimeter defense) that Washington could use right away in their quest to return to the playoffs. A rookie point guard may take longer to become an effective NBA contributor than a forward. And, many draft mistakes through history stem from picking based on a perceived short-term need instead of selecting the best player.
While Eason plays the same position as other forwards like Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija, it’s also possible, if not likely, that one or both gets traded in the next two seasons. That’s because they are due for contract extensions in the near future, especially if Eason hits the ground running.
Do you think we picked Eason too early? Or should we have picked someone else? Let us know in the comments below.