Raptors flex development skill as Precious Achiuwa starts shooting

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michelle Farsi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28: Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michelle Farsi/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have emphasized developing some of their young new additions this season despite the playoff push. Precious Achiuwa has been through some serious valleys in addition to his peaks, but the Raptors are not wavering in their quest to get him minutes.

Achiuwa, a 2020 first-round pick has already proven himself as a fantastic defender that can switch onto multiple positions. Unfortunately for the Raptors, he hasn’t been the most dominant offensive player. His interior finishing is still a serious work in progress that needs to be rectified.

However, Achiuwa has looked like a much more refined and confident player since the All-Star break. Where he appeared overly chaotic in the first half, Achiuwa has been focused and efficient of late. Achiuwa is averaging 13.0 points per game since the break in large part due to one new facet he’s added to his toolbox.

Achiuwa has started to become an expert 3-point shooter, knocking down just under half of his 3-point attempts in eight games since the All-Star pause. Considering he was just 18-62 before the break, it’s clear that the Raptors are encouraging him to show off his improved jumper.

Toronto Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa is growing up on the court.

Khem Birch might be the starter while OG Anunoby nurses his injury, but Achiuwa has been the unquestioned better player when compared against one another. Achiuwa has a particular fondness for the far corners, as he’s become a genuine weapon ad a catch-and-shoot weapon in that area of the floor.

Nick Nurse said that the biggest factor between his sluggish start and his torrid second half is the energy he is bringing to the table. While going 2-8 from the field every night would understandably ruin a young player’s confidence, Achiuwa has continued to keep his head down and gradually improve.

Achiuwa is still shooting poorly at the rim, but his percentages from between four and 14 feet have shot up dramatically. No one has ever doubted Achiuwa’s athletic ability or movement skills, but the touch around the rim and skill away from the basket has put a hard cap on his potential in the pros.

The Raptors took on Achiuwa knowing that he would require a ton of patience to properly develop. Now that he has the offensive confidence needed to stroke it from deep, Achiuwa is starting to become a positive force on that end. We’ll need to see him sustain this shooting stretch, but he’s undoubtedly taken a major step forward.

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