The Houston Rockets may have hit paydirt for the second straight year in the middle of the first round. After drafting Alperen Sengun last year with a surprise number 16 pick, the Rockets had another mid-first-round pick at number 17 this year and drafted Tari Eason.
Most of the attention going into Summer League was on the Rocket's third overall pick, Jabari Smith. Smith struggled with his shot but showed his potential elite defense throughout the five games. Eason, however, was the breakout star of the Summer League for the Rockets. He averaged 17.2 points and was second in the league in rebounding at 10.4 rebounds and also had 1.8 steals a game. Those impressive stats helped Eason land on the All-Summer League First Team.
Eason showed not only does he have the potential to be a game changer on defense, but he also showed his ability to get to the basket and rebound at a very high level. Yes, we realize it is Summer League, but Eason has demonstrated that he may be ahead of schedule and may not be in the G-League long, if at all. Eason was joined by Quentin Grimes, Sandro Mamukelashvili, Keegan Murray, and Cam Thomas.
Eason will join a crowded forward rotation for the Rockets this year, especially if Eric Gordon is still on the team, but he has already shown that he has a skill set that the Rockets need, which is size and defense at the small forward position.