PHOENIX, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 10: Frank Kaminsky #8 of the Phoenix Suns, a Toronto Raptors target and Khem Birch replacement (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Toronto Raptors might choose to spend a ton of money in order to find a new starting center, but there is an equally valid timeline in which they eschew huge spending in that area in order to bring back Khem Birch after the native Canadian’s breakout season.
Birch went from a garden variety backup center to a center capable of reaching double digits in scoring easily while giving the Raptors the interior presence they needed on both ends of the floor. Considering he won’t cost a ton, bringing him back could be a very prudent option for the Raptors’ front office to adapt.
However, Birch’s improved play means that the Raptors won’t be the only team that will try to bring him back. Toronto may need to look for a few other fallback options if Birch doesn’t return.
These 3 centers could be solid backups, but they shouldn’t be pursued over Birch considering the value that the native Canadian can add as a defender and finisher in the paint.
Oftentimes, free agents on teams that make it to the finals will look to cash in on their team’s success in free agency, and Kaminsky could look to do that after his Suns made it to the NBA Finals. A former lottery pick, Kaminsky started 13 games as Phoenix finally started to overcome their playoff issues.
Kaminsky is averaging 6.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season, and he could start to pump his numbers up in Toronto, especially considering how Nick Nurse could utilize his ability to shoot 3-pointers. Unfortunately, that production might not be the best indicator of how he would play in Toronto.
Frank Kaminsky and the @Suns are headed to the NBA Finals! pic.twitter.com/vW4m1fx8Cw
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) July 1, 2021
Kaminsky remains a terrible defender, and the fact that he has seen his spot the rotation completely eliminated in the series against the Clippers isn’t a good sign. If the Raptors want to make the playoffs, why would they sign a guy who barely gets on the court for Phoenix?
Kaminsky wouldn’t be an ideal option to start for the Raptors, as he would fall into many of the same pitfalls that Aron Baynes. Bringing Birch back is a much more natural fit, as fitting a square peg like Kaminsky into a round hole like Toronto’s center position is simply not an ideal strategy to adopt.
Next: A slightly overrated player