“I think he’s a guy that could become a quality backup big man in this league,” the Raptors’ head coach said. “He’s got some length, athleticism, shot blocking and rebounding. I’m excited to have him and hope we can help him develop.”
Birch joins the Raptors after having cleared waivers following his buyout from the Magic, where he was a solid contributor.
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- Standout second-year Knicks forward RJ Barrett has greatly improved his shooting stroke, thanks in large part to the efforts of skills trainer Drew Hanlen, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet details. “Not pointing fingers, but there was a level of frustration that he played with because he felt like he had made the shot change that he needed to make during the pre-draft and after putting three months of hard work to lock in those mechanics, they instantly go tweaked and changed to a place where he felt really uncomfortable and he lacked the confidence and consistency he needed,” Hanlen said of Barrett’s rookie Knicks season.
- Many Raptors players are more concerned about their future contracts than helping contribute to a potential team tank during a strange season for Toronto-by-way-of-Tampa, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports.
- Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid is learning to adjust to playing with a left knee brace, according to Rich Hoffman of The Athletic. “It just feels like every shot that I take, I just have a hitch. Like it’s not a full motion,” Embiid said. In the same piece, head coach Doc Rivers noted that new addition Anthony Tolliver could help the club, though he may not receive much playing time. “He’s a veteran, can shoot the ball, been around the block, which I think this team needs,” Rivers said. “So I think he can help.”