1. Tari Eason, LSU
Drafting a bench player from an iffy LSU team might not be the most traditional draft strategy, but Eason is worth that investment. Averaging 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game was impressive enough for the master Sixth Man, but his per 36 numbers are jaw-dropping.
On a 36-minute basis, Eason averaged 25.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game. With a 7-2 wingspan, experience defending multiple positions in the same way Barnes did at Florida State, and more offensive results than most college bench players, Eason is a ready-made contributor at the NBA level.
Tari Eason would be a dream for the Toronto Raptors.
Eason is a solid 3-point shooter with a 36% conversion rate from deep, but he could be regarded as a bit of a project despite his ball-handling skills. That isn’t too detrimental to his profile as a player to drop him out of the Top 20. Toronto might need to consider trading up for him.
Eason made the most of the opportunities he was given with the Tigers last year, and he’ll be on the fast track to pro stardom after he gets picked. The Raptors are not in a position to draft him right now, but they could sacrifice assets to move up and get Barnes a running mate if they are so entranced.