Tari Eason, LSU
The Sixers would be extremely blessed if Tari Eason falls to 23. Within the realm of possibility, he is probably the ideal outcome. At 6-foot-8, Eason is a stellar athlete who competes with the kind of fire and passion Philadelphia sorely lacks. He displays elite defensive potential and has more than enough tools to contribute offensively.
Eason was one of the best players in the SEC last season despite coming off the bench and only playing 24.3 minutes per game. There are legitimate reasons behind his limited playing time — he fouls way too much — but the Sixers should prefer an active and eager defender who needs to be held back to one who doesn’t try hard enough. There’s the obvious Doc Rivers factor (we didn’t see Paul Reed until the playoffs!), but Eason is talented enough to overcome his occasional lapse in discipline.
At 6-foot-8, Eason has the size to battle forwards and the lateral quickness to chase guards. He is a legitimate four or five-position defender in certain matchups. He blocks shots, racks up steals, and is then quite effective on the fast break. He will run the floor, and that’s something Philadelphia needs more of — especially in the non-Embiid minutes.
There’s a lot to like with Eason on the other side of the floor too. He drew a lot of fouls at the rim, he can bully smaller players inside, and his 3-point shooting improved drastically as a sophomore. He passes often, he makes a real effort to elevate those around him, and he should be well suited to cutting off-ball or playing the dunker’s spot while James Harden orchestrates the offense.