USA TODAY takes its last stab at where Ohio Sate’s Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell will land in 2022 mock draft

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There has been a slew of NBA Mock drafts hitting the spectacular invention of the world wide web over the last week, and that’s because the 2022 NBA draft is coming to a high-definition streaming device or television near you on Thursday night.

And with Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham expected to be included in the party in Brooklyn, we might be taking a little bit more interest in this one than the most recent drafts. Yes, it’s been a while since Ohio State could boast about watching guys go high in the draft.

Our mothership, USA TODAY, just put out its final mock NBA draft, and we’re here to bring the goods to you. Things continue to change with all the chatter and smokescreens being put out there, so we would warn you against taking this all at face value, but you are here for the entertainment, and that’s what we try to provide.

Here is where Jeff Zillgitt thinks both OSU players could land on Thursday night and why.

Malaki Branham

Feb 21, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Malaki Branham (22) dribbles past Indiana Hoosiers guard Parker Stewart (45) during the second half at Value City Arena. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Where he might land

No. 15 overall pick (from New Orleans) to the Charlotte Hornets

What Zillgitt Says

“Branham loves to get to the rim, flourishes in transition offensively and can finish in the paint. In half-court sets, he moves well with and without the basketball as a playmaker and cutter. His 3-point shot is not picture-perfect, but he made 41.6% from that range. He averaged 19 points in the final 10 games of the season. He would fit into the way Charlotte played on offense last season though the Hornets are without a coach right now after Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson backed out.”

E.J. Liddell

Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell officially declares for 2022 NBA draft
Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell officially declares for 2022 NBA draft

Mar 6, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) celebrates a dunk during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Value City Arena. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Where he might land

No. 20 overall pick (from Toronto) to the San Antonio Spurs

What Zillgitt Says

“Liddell improved across the board – shooting, passing, rebounding and shot blocking – in his junior season. Projected as a small forward who could play some small-ball power forward in the NBA, Liddell can play inside and outside offensively and has the strength to absorb contact and finish at the rim. This would give the Spurs some bulk.”

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