The Milwaukee Bucks own the 24th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which takes place this Thursday, June 23. Fresh off of their playoff loss to the Boston Celtics, there is consequently much speculation surrounding what the Bucks will do in the 2022 NBA Draft. Under Jon Horst, the Bucks have only used their first-round pick to draft players for themselves twice. The first was Donte DiVincenzo in 2017, and the second was DJ Wilson in 2018. Despite their recent history of trading out of the first round, ESPN’s most recent NBA mock draft has the Milwaukee Bucks drafting Ohio State power forward EJ Liddell with the 24th overall pick.
Related: Bucks draft pick for each position
EJ Liddell Stats at Ohio State
Liddell played three seasons of college basketball at Ohio State. According to Draft Kings’ scouting report on Liddell, his most significant strength is how much he has improved, which certainly has shown up on the stat sheet.
Long before he was projected a first-round pick in NBA mock drafts, EJ Liddell averaged 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game off the bench for the Buckeyes in his freshman season. However, his shooting was, to be frank, not very good at all. Liddell put up shooting splits of 46/19/71 that year before he had a breakout sophomore season.
In 2020-21, EJ Liddell became a starter for Ohio State and consequently improved his shooting line to 47/34/75. His increased playing time and improved shooting helped him raise his scoring average to 16.2 points per game. He also averaged 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.
Last year, his junior season, Liddell showed even more improvement on both sides of the floor. Defensively, Liddell showed a knack for blocking shots and as a result, averaged 2.6 blocks per game in 2021-22. Offensively, he shot 49/37/76 and upped his scoring average to 19.4 points per game. Additionally, Liddell averaged 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
However, what is astonishing about the increases in his shooting percentage is that Liddell was shooting the ball MORE in each season that he played at Ohio State.
How Would EJ Liddell Fit in if ESPN’s latest NBA Mock Draft is True?
One of the biggest weaknesses of the Milwaukee Bucks need to address is adding wing players who can create their own shots. This is something that EJ Liddell was certainly adept at doing while playing for Ohio State. His stats listed above subsequently speak for themselves. At six foot seven, Liddell projects to play similarly to Khris Middleton.
Meanwhile, one of the things that scouts and NBA mock drafters love about Liddell is how he uses his powerful frame as a perimeter defender. Additionally, he can hold his own down on the block against larger opponents near the basket. Draft Kings compares him to Paul Millsap and Grant Williams, though it sounds like he may eventually have the defensive versatility of Jrue Holiday.
The Rest of ESPN’s Mock Draft
- Orlando Magic- Jabari Smith
- Oklahoma City Thunder- Chet Holmgren
- Houston Rockets- Paolo Banchero
- Sacramento Kings- Jaden Ivey
- Detroit Pistons- Bennedict Mathurin
- Indiana Pacers- Keegan Murray
- Portland Trail Blazers- Shaedon Sharpe
- New Orleans Pelicans- Dyson Daniels
- San Antonio Spurs- Jalen Duren
- Washington Wizards- Johnny Davis
- New York Knicks- AJ Griffin
- Oklahoma City Thunder- Ousmane Dieng
- Charlotte Hornets- Jeremy Sochan
- Cleveland Cavaliers- Ochai Agbaji
- Charlotte Hornets- Mark Williams
- Atlanta Hawks- Jalen Williams
- Houston Rockets- Tari Eason
- Chicago Bulls- Malaki Branham
- Minnesota Timberwolves- Walker Kessler
- San Antonio Spurs- Blake Wesley
- Denver Nuggets- Dalen Terry
- Memphis Grizzlies- TyTy Washington Jr.
- Philadelphia 76ers- Wendell Moore Jr.
- Milwaukee Bucks- EJ Liddell
- San Antonio Spurs- Kennedy Chandler
- Houston Rockets- Marjon Beauchamp
- Miami Heat- Jaden Hardy
- Golden State Warriors- Jake LaRavia
- Memphis Grizzlies- Nikola Jovic
- Denver Nuggets- Christian Braun
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