The Toronto Raptors signed Khem Birch to a three-year contract worth $20 million after an impressive showing in the Tampa bubble. Just one year into his contract, no one would bat an eye if Masai Ujiri chose to get rid of him and start over after a highly disappointing season.
Birch couldn’t even average 5.0 points per game this season, as injuries and poor finishing made him one of the least effective offensive options on this team. Rebooting the depth chart with a young, cheaper alternative at center instead of Birch could easily be in the cards this offseason.
The best place to find someone cheap to step into his role is the 2022 NBA Draft, which is full of enticing second-round center targets. Even though there is a big gap between the top big men in this class and the rest of the pack, Toronto should have no trouble finding an eventual spot starter in this range.
These three center prospects should be able to take over for Birch and give the Raptors a more traditional look against bigger teams. Even though they might not have the most refined offensive games, they could outscore Birch during their rookie seasons with Toronto.
3 center prospects who may replace Khem Birch on the Toronto Raptors
3. Trevion Williams, Purdue
While 7-4 Canadian goliath Zach Edey was obviously the more interesting of Matt Painter’s squad, Williams might be the better professional prospect. Williams’ 6-9, 255-pound frame helps him play like an old-school, back-to-the-basket center that scores with an array of post moves.
Williams averaged 12.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this year, which actually represents a slight decline due to the additional allocation of minutes to Edey. Williams could go from a reasonably average Big 12 starting center to a legit NBA contributor with greater developmental support in Toronto.
Trevion Williams could help the Toronto Raptors ditch Khem Birch.
Williams might have the size and muscle needed to become a solid defender, but he is not the best shot-blocker in the world right now. With a lack of a 3-point shot, Williams does not seem like the type of player that the Raptors have typically invested tons of developmental energy in.
Williams and Birch have similar physical numbers, but the Boilermaker alum could help Toronto get someone with a bit more offensive vigor without breaking the bank. Trading down from 33 to select him could also help Ujiri pick up an additional draft pick.