E.J. Liddell, Forward, Ohio State
E.J. Liddell will be returning to the Buckeyes, which is a very good thing. He has shown a lot of promise but needs an extra year before he can prove himself to be an NBA-ready talent. Averaging 16 points and nearly seven rebounds in a six-foot-seven-inch body is nothing to sneeze at, but he is not a prototypical small forward.
He is reluctant to shoot from the outside and is not fast enough to blow by everyone. He also is not the guy you want putting the ball on the floor.
On the plus side, he is a good rebounder and defender who can gather his dribble to take a pull-up jumper. He can also post up smaller players, which there are a lot of in college.
I worry that he won’t be able to transition to the NBA, so it’s a good thing he’s taking a year to prove me wrong. In the NBA, he’ll have to back down larger players and worry about longer arms swiping his shaky dribbles. If he’s “the guy” next year at Ohio State and leads them to a similar regular-season record, then I guess he’ll be NBA-ready.
There’s a lot of doubt, but he has time to figure it all out. Maybe the Spurs can scoop him in the second round next year and work with him.