The Toronto Raptors have completely hit the skids since their 6-3 start, as they have won just two of their last nine games. While stars like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam have been performing well, bench players like Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher, and Khem Birch have been more uneven.
Toronto ranks dead last in the NBA in bench scoring, and that lack of depth has come back to bite Nick Nurse in the rear several times this season. When the starters leave the floor, Toronto finds it hard to consistently sustain some of their strong starts.
While this is a young team that is investing heavily in the development of some of their young players, this organization is trying to return to the postseason. If the bench doesn’t snap out of their trance and get back in tip-top shape, the Raptors may be faced with another postseason at home.
Should Toronto Raptors fans start to panic after these 3 bench players have slipped up in the last few weeks? Should they exercise patience and hope that they turn things around in short order?
Panic or patience for 3 Toronto Raptors players.
1. Precious Achiuwa
Achiuwa is perhaps the most frustrating player to watch on this team. In brief spurts, he’ll look like a future franchise cornerstone. However, he’s equally capable of ruining all of that momentum by making an ill-advised pass or losing the ball in transition. His stats from this year reflect his bipolar style of play.
Achiuwa is averaging 8.4 rebounds per game, all while showing some nice flashes on the defensive end. Great! Achiuwa has also averaged just 7.7 points per game while shooting 37% from the field and 23% from 3-point range. That is not as great!
The Toronto Raptors have seen Precious Achiuwa improve.
With Pascal Siakam coming back to the lineup, Achiuwa has moved to the bench. While his minutes have decreased, he’s started to provide more of a positive impact on the offensive end. In the four games he’s played as a reserve, Achiuwa is making over half of his shots while still pulling down rebounds.
Achiuwa may be a touch rawer than some may have thought, but that doesn’t mean he’s worth discarding. This new bench role appears to suit him better, and he could provide some serious stability to a beleaguered frontcourt if he starts to improve his finishing near the basket.