ESPN’s latest projection of where Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell will go in the NBA draft

We are now just a couple of days away from the 2022 NBA draft, and Ohio State fans should have more interest in all the festivities than in recent years past because two former Buckeyes are projected to go somewhere in the first round.

You probably know the two players by now, but just in case, there’s a better than good chance we’ll all hear Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell’s names called somewhere among the top 30 picks.

So, on this eve of the NBA draft eve, here’s where ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has both OSU starts headed and what he says about each in preparation for all of the fun on Thursday.

Malaki Branham, Gurad

Malaki Branham stays in NBA draft, will end his Ohio State career
Malaki Branham stays in NBA draft, will end his Ohio State career

Mar 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann advises Ohio State Buckeyes guard Malaki Branham (22) in the second half against the Loyola (Il) Ramblers during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Where ESPN has Branham going

No. 18 overall pick to the Chicago Bulls

What Givony Says

“Rival teams say the Bulls aren’t in love with their options here, and they are
open to trading the pick, potentially in a package with combo guard Coby
White. If they stand pat, the upside offered by Branham could be attractive, as he has a strong case to be considered the most talented prospect on the board. Branham’s combination of size, frame, length, scoring instincts and shot-making prowess off the dribble (44% FG%) and with his feet set (43%) look seamlessly translatable to what the NBA is looking for at his position. He plays with a unique combination of aggressiveness and poise for a player who just turned 19, and his impressive strides as the season moved on, facilitating more for others and showing competitiveness defensively one-on-one, give him a high ceiling as a prospect.”

E.J. Liddell, Forward

Mar 20, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) dribbles the ball around Villanova Wildcats forward Eric Dixon (43) in the first half during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at PPG Paints Arena. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Where ESPN has Liddell going

No. 24 overall pick to the Milwaukee Bucks

What Givony Says

The Bucks are said to be exploring a host of options with this pick, with names including Andrew Nembhard, Jake LaRavia, Christian Braun and Ismael Kamagate bandied about and indicating the team is exploring “older” players who can help the team win now while its championship window is open. Rival teams say the Bucks have indicated a willingness to explore moving up in the mid-to-late teens portion of the first round, potentially targeting some of the draft’s best 7-footers like Mark Williams and Walker Kessler.

“Beyond that, with several frontcourt players on expiring contracts or entering their final seasons, adding an All-American big man such as Liddell could be attractive. Liddell is a solid rim protector who can switch on the perimeter and improved his shooting significantly as a junior, giving him a high floor as a prospect. Liddell’s productivity and toughness make him a solid option at this stage of the draft.”

[listicle id=91579]

Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Phil Harrison on Twitter.

Let us know your thoughts, and comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.