Ohio State junior E.J. Liddell, potential first-rounder, declares for 2022 NBA Draft
Junior forward E.J. Liddell tipped his hand by participating in Ohio State’s senior-day ceremony (before a loss to Michigan).
The forward has confirmed his plan to enter the NBA draft with two years of eligibility remaining.
Liddell looks like a borderline first-round pick.
He was one of the best all-around players in college basketball this year. But the 21-year-old will lose his experience advantages at the next level and more frequently face athletic challenges.
Liddell can be too methodical with the ball. He was skilled enough to make that work as the Buckeyes’ go-to player, but he likely must adjust to a more-complementary role that requires quicker decisions in the NBA. His improved shooting should serve him well, though his release could get quicker.
Liddell’s shot-blocking might be his most NBA-ready skill. If he can protect the rim at 6-foot-7 with better length than his height would suggests, he could create plenty of mismatches as a center. If he can hold up in other areas at power forward, his rim protection would be a welcome bonus at the position in a league going increasingly small. His ability to defend in space has improved, and he could advance even further with NBA conditioning.
A very good basketball player, Liddell will get plenty of consideration in the draft, whatever college-to-NBA translation issues exist with his game.