E.J. Liddell will trick you.
The former Ohio State star isn’t a great overall athlete, but he’s blessed with good explosion.
“He’s a good shot blocker and can shoot the outside shot,” said a league scout. “So he’s like a stretch four, but he’s an undersized four.”
Liddell could become a late first-round pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, which will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 76ers will select 23rd and are in need of a player who can perform on both ends of the court. And that’s what Liddell does. He led the Buckeyes in scoring (19.4 points per game), rebounds (7.9), and blocks (2.6) in his junior season. The Chicago-area native shot 37.4% behind the college three-point line.
However, the Sixers are intent on contending for an NBA title next season. As a result, there’s no guarantee they will keep the player they draft. The Sixers could agree to a trade before the draft and select a prospect on behalf of another team. In that scenario, the Sixers would swap the draftee, along with a veteran or two, in exchange for an established player who can help right away as a fifth starter or key reserve.
But if available, Liddell could be an intriguing pick if the Sixers opt to keep the drafted player.
He measured at just 6-foot-7 in sneakers at last month’s NBA draft combine. But he makes up for his lack of height with a 6-11¾ wingspan. Liddell also weighed in at 243 pounds with 12.2% body fat. The Illinois native recorded the highest standing vertical leap at the combine with a measurement of 35 ½ inches and the eighth-best max vertical leap (38 inches).
“He reminds me a little of Paul Millsap,” the scout said. “He’s not like a Georges Niang. He’s more like a Paul Millsap.”
Millsap concluded his 16th and perhaps 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 in nine in Philly. 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 6-7, 257-pound Millsap was a center in college before making the switch to power forward in the NBA.
Williams is a 6-foot-6 guard out of Santa Clara, while Beauchamp is a 6-foot-6 wing from the NBA G League Ignite. Both players said Friday that they have not worked out for the Sixers.
Beauchamp said his agent has spoken to the Sixers since he met with them at the combine. Williams said he hasn’t spoken to the team during the pre-draft process and is unaware of whether anyone in his camp has been in contact.
Williams worked out for the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Atlanta. He has a workout scheduled Monday with Cleveland.
Beauchamp participated in workouts for 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.