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2022 NBA Draft Player Profile: E.J. Liddell

Big-bodied forward who plays with a high motor

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

E.J. Liddell has a strong frame, good length, and plays with a high motor. He combines his strength and power with surprising quickness and explosiveness, especially on his second jump for offensive rebounds, putbacks, or shot contests.

Stats

Age: 21

Height: 6’7” (6’5.5” w/o shoes)

Wingspan: 6’11.75

Weight: 243 lbs

Per Game: 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.6 blocks

Per 40 Minutes: 23.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 3.1 blocks

Shooting Splits: 49.0% FG, 37.4% 3P, 76.5% FT

Advanced Stats: 59.8% TS, .236 WS/48, 11.8 BPM

Strengths

Passing - Good court vision and awareness, finds the open man when doubled. Excellent passer from the post, from the top of the key, and in the short roll.

Rim protection - Fantastic shot blocker and rim protector (2.6 blocks per game). His instincts and timing are excellent, and he knows when to contest vertically rather than go for the block. Especially good as a weak side or chase-down shot blocker.

Defensive versatility - Switchable and quick on the perimeter, capable of holding his own against most wings (and guards in stints). He cuts off driving lanes, absorbs contact, and recovers quickly to contest.

Scoring - Solid post and face-up game. He’s a foul magnet and gets to the free throw line often (career 11.8 FTA per 100 possessions).

Shooting - Effective in the pick-and-pop and as a spot-up threat at the top of the key. Dramatic year-over-year improvement in both 3-point efficiency and volume - same improvement from the free throw line.

Weaknesses

Shot creation - His handle is a bit shaky, and he lacks the burst to consistently beat defenders off the dribble. Struggles to turn the corner on drives

Size - A bit undersized for a 4 at just 6’5.5” without shoes. Effort and hustle made up for this in college, but against NBA size this disadvantage will be more pronounced.

Athleticism - Liddell is doesn’t have elite burst, quickness, or vertical explosion, which limits his upside on both ends of the court. His max vertical at the 2022 combine was 38” - however, this measurement is given a boost. At the 2021 NBA combine, his standing reach was 8’10” compared to 8’7.5” in 2022. His actual max vertical (35-36”) is about average for his position.

Upside - Liddell doesn’t have elite physical tools, which limits his ceiling. He projects more as a high-floor/low-ceiling player.

Fit

Definitely. Liddell has attributes that can’t be taught or coached, and he’s made massive strides in his game each of the last 3 seasons. High floor as a rotation player. He’s projected in the teens to mid-20s.

Notes of

Jae Crowder, Eric Paschall, Paul Millsap, Grant Williams

Sources: Adam Spinella, The Ringer, NBA.com, NBAdraft.net