|"Gonna take a lot to drag me awaaaaaaay, from yooooooou......"|Khem Birch
2013/14 stats: 31.4 mpg, 11.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 3.8 bpg, 0.6 spg, 2.3 fpg, 1.3 TOpg, 51.0%, 0.0% 3PT, 69.3% FT
Birch is an exceptional rebounder, one of the best there is and that there can be. He also averaged an enormous 3.8 blocks per game, again about as good as there can be. He hustles and scraps, tracks the ball off the rim, rebounds outside of his area, rebounds over people, and has the length and athleticism to compete with anybody. Birch's thin frame lacks for strength and he can be boxed out, but he can grab the rebound anyway, and will certainly try to. Around the basket, he will swat whatever he can around the rim, has good timing and anticipation, and of course gets up very quickly. In two of the most big man-ny big man areas, Birch is extremely productive.
Everything else is less of a sure thing. On offense in particular, Birch is markedly underskilled, creating almost nothing in the post, not shooting a jump shot with any consistency, not making his foul shots with any consistency, and indeed not even making layups with any consistency. He runs the court, hustles and dunks, but it's opportunistic only and he's plenty subdueable. With his physical profile, Birch should forgo trying to be a post-up player and become a dominant pick-and-roll presence, but he is a long way short of this, and the guards he plays with can only partially be at fault. Birch's offense is underdeveloped to the point that spacing and screen, real fundamental skills, aren't even comfortable for him. The same can be true of his defense; Birch's physical tools allow him to mask many mistakes, but there are many mistakes of the positional and staying-in-front sense. There is an awful lot to do, and Birch is very much a project still.
That said, look at those rebounds. Look at those blocks. Look at that athleticism. Don't look at the bits he can't do; look at the bits he can do that can't be taught. Look at the lack of character concerns that go with it. Is that not worthy of a second round pick and a slow developmental process?