The 2022 NBA draft is quite upon us, but it’s getting ever so closer. This year, Ohio State has two guys that could go in the first round, and forward E.J. Liddell is one of them.
Despite Liddell having a very productive career at OSU, he’s actually not expected to be the first Buckeye off the board. That honor will most likely go to guard Malaki Branham because of his upside, length, and varied game that should translate well to the next level.
But that doesn’t mean Liddell can’t carve out a really good career in the NBA as well. In fact, he’s the more polished of the two and has shown a desire to work really hard and improve his game. There are a lot of self-made guys running around in the NBA, and Liddell is not afraid to work hard to get where he wants to be.
One draft analyst believes that Liddell can have a productive career, but that he has to be realistic with where he belongs. Michael VandeGarde, a former NBA scout thinks the Buckeye star brings some things to the table not many others at the next level do.
Mar 20, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) blocks the shot of Villanova Wildcats guard Collin Gillespie (2) in the second half during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s what VandeGarde said about what he sees from Liddell:
Athletically – “He is a powerful power forward that is strong and explosive…quick bounce for his thickness…average footspeed…plays hard…likes physical play.”
Offensively – “He is a skilled power forward…solid stroke…shooting has improved each year…average handles…solid passer…loves to post hard…then spins and shoots fadeaways that are hard to block…almost always spins to get his shots off mid-range and we don’t see that much in the NBA…more of a power forward that posts which we also don’t see much in the NBA…I don’t think he has the skill set to be a shooting forward …he doesn’t have the body type of a shooting forward.”
Overall – “He put up good numbers…he has improved each year…I see him only as a PF…Reminds me of a Jae Crowder type NBA player…Can he be that good a defender is the question…Solid late first round pick…Range is 18-30.”
It’s good to know what a guy that used to scout players coming to the NBA for a living thinks about the prospects of what Liddell can do. Hopefully, he continues to work hard while utilizing the skill set that he does have to have a long, productive career at the highest level.
Michael VandeGarde is a former NBA scout, having spent the past 18 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently involved with the innovative digital platform CoachTube, a portal that offers sports coaching courses from legendary coaches in the NFL, NBA and college sports.