Here are my notes, including strengths, weaknesses or question marks, and potential fit with the Bulls should they take him at 18.
Chase down block artist
Great timing leaving his man to help from weak side
Uses standing vert, length and hang time to deter shots
Good footwork and anticipation
Helps from weak block, strong wing, anywhere
Goes for highlight blocks a ton but also very good verticality
Long arms, timing help him close out hard and contest threes
Shows potential to be switchable on the perimeter helping off screens and staying with guards on drives
Incredibly sturdy — drivers bounce right off him and you’re not posting him up
Makes quick reads on the catch, great ball mover
Doesn’t show driving, live-dribble creation but great at finding shooters out of post double teams
Question marks and weaknesses
How real is the jumper?
Improved shooting splits are good to see but questions remain about how real his shot is (33.8 percent on threes his sophomore season, 19.2 percent his freshman season)
Improvement and 76.5 free throw percentage are good indicators
Huge hitch in jumper — slower release, jumps super high. Will he be able to get shots off against hard closeouts?
What is his upside?
A lot of his offense comes from the post, including playmaking. Will that be available to him at the NBA level? If not, what is unlocking his offensive game?
Relies heavily on strength. Likely to still be stronger than most at NBA level, but what if he’s not?
Not going to beat closeouts off the dribble or even other centers off the bounce
Role and potential fit with Bulls
Liddell is a NBA player. With the way teams like to use the power forward spot, Liddell is tailor-made to make an immediate impact on a playoff-caliber team. His weak side rim protection, projected ability to have success on the perimeter and high defensive IQ will suit him well as a rotation player, if not starter at the next level. The Bulls biggest weaknesses are size, rim protection and three point shooting and Liddell would solve all three in one foul swoop.
With the 18th pick, the Bulls will not be swinging for a franchise-changing talent, but Liddell’s upside hinges completely on his jumper. He would appear to be a high-floor player, and I think he is, but his shooting is a massive swing skill. If he ends up as a 36, 37, 38 percent three-point shooter, he will be really good. If he’s around 33, 32, 31 percent, he is just another good defender who can’t be relied upon to hit an open three.
Drafting for fit or role is dangerous when it comes at the expense of talent, but Liddell’s projected skillset is super valuable. And he is most definitely talented. He’s not the most exciting prospect, but he’d be an important player for the Bulls next year and gives them a solid rotation piece with size, shooting and the ability to protect the rim alongside Nikola Vucevic.