Film Room: Khem Birch's Strengths
By Josh Cohen
July 27, 2017
ORLANDO -- Khem Birch is an exceptionally good shot blocker and team defender. He has excellent timing when he goes up for a block attempt. With his speed, athleticism and aggressiveness, Birch chases down opponents in transition and swats shots away. He also is a terrific help defender and will often slide over from the weak side to block shots.
Birch fits in very well in small-ball lineups because he has the lateral foot speed to stay in front of smaller, quicker perimeter players. In pick-and-roll scenarios, Birch doesn’t get intimidated by opponents trying to break him down off the dribble. He has the body of a power forward but the game of a center.
While he’s very limited offensively, Birch has good hands and can finish with authority. He’s very active and sprightly, which leads to dunks and easy layups. It would be beneficial for him to add some range, however.
Birch is a solid rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. He averaged a double-double in his final season at UNLV a few years ago. He’s relentless and plays with high energy and hustle. He will often come up with 50-50 balls and has no problem diving for loose balls or chasing off-targeted passes out of bounds.
Perhaps his best asset is his ability to run the floor. He has nice long strides and is extremely mobile and fluid. He’s a really good lob target as well.
Birch is physical and embraces contact inside. He will initiate fouls and outmuscle opponents with his strength and resistance.
Here’s a look at a few plays that illustrate Birch’s skillset.
BIRCH CHASEDOWN BLOCK
BIRCH AND-1 POWER JAM
BLOCK ON ONE END, DUNK ON OTHER
BIRCH PUTBACK BUCKET