Most Surprising: Precious Achiuwa
Achiuwa came into the Washington game averaged 13.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. While those numbers would be impressive enough, Achiuwa’s performances go beyond the box score, and they’ve been so tremendous he might end up taking the starting spot away from Khem Birch.
On offense, Achiuwa has shown that he can attack the rim with ferocity, which is what Toronto will require from their starting center. Can he handle the ball and pull up, which was an issue for him in Miami? You bet he can! He’s expanded his range and even hit a couple of 3-pointers.
Toronto Raptors center Precious Achiuwa looks comfortable on both ends.
On defense, Achiuwa had defended guards on multiple possessions, further adding fuel to the hype machine around the former top recruit. If he is a true positionless defender, that is quite a weapon for Nurse to have at his disposal, and it shows that he is not the same player he was with the Heat.
While Birch, who signed a three-year contract, will still likely be the starting center, Achiuwa demanded more minutes with his play in the preseason. If the Raptors want to truly be a positionless team, a center with the athletic ability of a wing like Achiuwa could be the piece that makes this whole engine run.