It’s officially NBA Draft week for the Ohio State basketball program, and the Buckeyes have two players that will for sure be drafted in this year’s NBA Draft. Obviously, all the hype is around Malaki Branham as he is projected to go really high and could sneak his way into being a top 10. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes’ best player from last season is being highly slept on heading into the draft.
EJ Liddell had arguably one of the greatest seasons we have seen by an individual in the Scarlet and Gray. In his junior season, Liddell averaged 19.4 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game, and 2.6 blocks per game. All while shooting an efficient 49% from the field.
He was also named Third-team All-American, First-team All-Big Ten, and Big Ten All-Defensive Team all in the same season. It makes you wonder how on earth a guy with this state and skillset is being passed on?
Traditionally, Liddell is lacking in size at his position. But with the landscape of how the game is being played today, and if you look at what he brings to the game, Liddell’s game transitions perfectly to the NBA.
As we saw last season at Ohio State, Liddell was the toughest matchup on the floor every night. He can help stretch the floor, finish on the inside, and we all know how lethal his mid-range game is. Liddell has continuously improved his play on the defensive end of the floor as well. If he takes what he did last year to anchor the Ohio State basketball team’s defense to the NBA, he’ll get the playing time he deserves.
A good NBA comparison for Liddell coming into the league would be a more athletic version of Grant Williams from the Boston Celtics. Both Williams and Liddell have very similar games offensively, but Liddell is much more versatile on the defensive end.
The mock drafts I have seen have Liddell going towards the end of the first round. That’s a perfect spot to be taken at as he could more than likely land with a contender like the Bucks, Grizzlies, or 76ers who are projected to select Liddell.
If Liddell lands with a contender it would be huge for his rookie season. He could be the energy guy off the bench that could see a lot of minutes. I think the Bucks or Grizzlies would be a perfect fit for Liddell. His style of play would fit either of those teams perfectly.
Every contender is always looking for an energy guy late in the draft that could help spark a playoff run. Unfortunately, a good example of that is Jordan Poole for how well he performed on the Warriors’ recent run to a championship.
Liddell is a player that loves making the hustle and energy plays. He would be a huge steal for any contender to snag late in the first round.
We will find out what team Liddell will be taking his talents to this Thursday night.