1. Khem Birch
This one is the most obvious, as the regression of Birch was one of the main reasons that Koloko was prized so highly by Toronto. Birch gives it everything he’s got on any particular night, but injuries and ineffectiveness were the themes of what became a cursed season for him.
Birch failed to even crack five points per game just a year removed from dominating in the Tampa bubble. Getting hurt was one of the main reasons that Toronto was unable to really sustain any success against elite offensive centers, and Koloko could help close that gap if he develops.
Christian Koloko will challenge Khem Birch on the Toronto Raptors.
Koloko averaged just under three blocks per game in college despite just 25.4 minutes per contest on average. He might be a Birch-esque rim-finisher on offense, but his 7-1 body and defensive instincts will be traits that Nurse would love to get on the floor. Playing Koloko and Birch at the same time is counterproductive.
Irrespective of what happens with Chris Boucher and Thad Young in free agency, the Koloko-Birch dynamic is going to be one of the most important questions for Toronto to solve if the Arizona product develops quickly. Moving Birch in a trade to make room for Koloko can’t be discounted.