EJLiddellWolvesProfile

Sun., Jan. 9, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) celebrates after a three-pointer during the first half of a NCAA Division I men’s basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats at Value City Arena

Liddell 1

The NBA draft is approaching on June 23 and the Minnesota Timberwolves have the No. 19 overall pick. After a march to the playoffs this past season the Wolves will be looking to take the next step forward and it starts with the draft.

Who might they be interested in with the No. 19 pick?

In this edition, we take a look at Ohio State power forward E.J. Liddell.

OVERVIEW

Liddell was a consensus four-star recruit coming out of Belleville High School-West in Illinois and had plenty of offers to sift through before committing to Ohio State.

While with the Buckeyes, Liddell improved over the course of his three years playing in the Big Ten. In his final year at Ohio State, he averaged 19.4 points per game to go along with a career-high 7.9 rebounds. His percentage from 3-point range rapidly improved from 19 percent his first year with the program to 37 percent this past year.

Liddell’s shooting improvements were a must for a power forward who lacks true explosiveness and is trying to carve out a spot in today’s NBA.

NBA COMBINE RESULTS

Lane agility time: 11.11 seconds

Shuttle run: 3.23 seconds

Three-quarter sprint: 3.26 seconds

Standing vertical: 35.5 inches (best of anyone at the combine)

Max vertical: 38 inches

MEASURABLES

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 243 pounds

Wingspan: 6-11

FILM ROOM

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“Liddell boasts a muscular 240-pound frame that can handle the rigors of the interior. He played center for most of his sophomore season despite standing at 6-foot-7. He’s an excellent shot blocker, especially in help situations rotating into the paint. In February, he had success defending Illinois star Kofi Cockburn. Defensive versatility. As a junior, Liddell came back a better perimeter defender than ever. Early in the season, he shut down Paolo Banchero all over the court, and then continued to bother players across positions. In a switching defense, he can handle any position. Good spot-up shooter with comfortable mechanics. He has improved every season from behind the arc, so defenders close out hard and he’s able to dribble into pull-ups or get all the way to the basket.” - Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer

“Liddell is coming off an All-Big 10 season where he led Ohio State in scoring with just over 19 points per game and anchored their pretty tough defense … He has always been a sturdy-bodied post player, but his steadily improving skill level has pushed his NBA Draft stock as high as it’s been in his career … He showed the ability to post and score, step out and hit from the perimeter as well as being a facilitating valve for the Buckeyes offense when defenses came to try and collapse on him to get the ball out of his hands…His shot blocking and all around defensive effort also stood out … He isn’t a great athlete and will always be more of an undersized frontcourt player; and he still needs to refine and polish his scoring arsenal at all 3 levels a bit more from a fundamental standpoint, but it’s hard to not like the motor.” - NBAdraft.net

HOW HE FITS

The Timberwolves have a good amount of shooters but you can never have too many in today’s NBA. Jarred Vanderbilt is the Wolves’ starting power forward but he is far more of a defensive-minded player who doesn’t have plays run for him on offense but can clean up the glass and keep things interesting in the paint. Getting Liddell would give the Wolves a power forward option to complement Vanderbilt and provide another option offensively that opposing defenses have to keep tabs on. Liddell isn’t going to race by a defense and won’t need to have the ball work through him, but what he does bring to the table on offense is a presence that defenses have to at least respect.

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