E. J. Liddell will deceive you.
The former Ohio State star isn’t a great athlete, but he’s blessed with a good blast.
“He blocks shots well and can hit a long shot,” said a league scout. “So he’s like a four, but he’s a short four.”
Liddell could be a late first-round pick in the NBA draft on Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 76ers will pick 23rd and they need a player who can play both ends of the court. And that’s what Liddell does. In his junior season, he led the Buckeyes in scoring (19.4 points per game), rebounding (7.9) and blocks (2.6). The Chicago native shot 37.4% below the college three-point line.
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However, the Sixers are determined to fight for the NBA title next season. As a result, there is no guarantee that they will keep the player they have chosen. The Sixers could have negotiated a trade before the draft and drafted a prospect on behalf of another team. In this scenario, the Sixers would trade in an inductee along with one or two veterans for a well-known player who can immediately help as a fifth starting or key reserve.
But if he’s available, Liddell could be an intriguing pick if the 66ers decide to keep the chosen player.
In the NBA draft last month, he stood at just 6ft 7in in sneakers. But what it lacks in height it makes up for in a wingspan of 6-11¾. Liddell also weighed in at 243 pounds with 12.2% body fat. The Illinois native recorded the highest standing vertical jump on a 35 ½” combine and the eighth best maximum vertical jump (38″).
“He reminds me a little of Paul Millsap,” the scout said. “He doesn’t look like Georges Niang. He looks more like Paul Millsap.”
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Millsap ended his 16th and possibly final NBA season in May. The Sixers acquired him from the Brooklyn Nets along with James Harden in February. In the twilight of his career, Millsap started one game and played nine in Philadelphia. But the former second-round pick is a four-time All-Star with career averages of 13.4 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Like Liddell, the 257-pound, 6-7 Millsap was a college center before switching to power forward in the NBA.
If any, Jalen Williams and Marjohn Beauchamp are two other solid picks for the Sixers.
Williams is a 6’6″ Santa Clara defenseman and Beauchamp is a 6’6″ NBA G League Ignite defenseman. Both players said on Friday that they didn’t work out with the Sixers.
Beauchamp said his agent has been talking to the Sixers since he met them at the mill. Williams said he did not speak to the team during the pre-draft and does not know if anyone from his camp has been in contact.
Williams has worked for the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Atlanta. He’s scheduled to practice with Cleveland on Monday.
Beauchamp participated in training sessions in Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, San Antonio and Washington.
Beauchamp and Williams are among the players invited to the NBA green room on draft night.