Maturity is key at this stage of the Brooklyn Nets’ path. GM Sean Marks doesn’t have much cap flexibility with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving teaming up at the twilight of their careers. Getting players who are willing to sacrifice touches, play hard on defense, and scrap will be vital at No. 23—making E.J. Liddell a safe yet exciting choice.
A quasi-positionless forward with a stout, stocky build, Liddell is a defensive force. Over his three years in college, Liddell has proven that he can bang with the bigs down low, stick to ball-handling wings, or track versatile forwards across the court. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, fighting for rebounds and maneuvering the court with intention.
Liddell can do a little bit of everything on offense but doesn’t project as a high-usage player. His shooting ability has improved with each year in college, settling around league average by the end of his days at Ohio State. He’s a willing and able passer who could potentially run sets from the elbow and high post, though it’s not likely the Nets would invest much in that part of his game early on.
Not to mention he’s a very skilled shot-blocker who roams the court in search of rejections on unsuspecting slashers. This is the kind of player you can go to war with, making him an ideal fit for teams like Brooklyn that need a win-now rookie.