Stock Down: Khem Birch
Birch only played two games in the preseason, as he was trying to work his way back from a COVID-19 diagnosis. While Birch deserves some time to get back to full strength, the fact that Achiuwa completely set the world on fire could not have come at a worse time for the native Canadian.
Birch averaged 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in just over 17 minutes. While he had some brief moments that prove that the player we saw at the tail end of last year is back, he mixed them in with some iffy results as a scorer, and the emergence of Precious next to him has made him look worse by comparison.
Will Toronto Raptors big Khem Birch keep his starting spot?
Birch will be given more than enough time to try and turn the lightbulb on, Goran Dragic was awful before last night, but he showed that when he gets his 3-point shot going, he can get into a groove on the offense. We can only hope that Birch has a similar spike in production in the regular season.
While giving Achiuwa more minutes is all well and good, the Raptors started to play better with Birch because they finally had a traditional center that could muscle his way into the paint for some easy buckets. Against plenty of elite bigs in the East, Toronto will need No. 24 to step up.