The Toronto Raptors have emphasized making sure that all of their young players start to take major developmental strides in the right direction. After some struggles with scoring earlier in the season, Precious Achiuwa has been one of Toronto’s best players in the second half.
Achiuwa is averaging 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game since the All-Star break, which is a sign that he is starting to progress in the way Toronto expected when the season started. The increased volume from beyond the arc is the main reason he’s taken such a noticeable jump in the right direction.
During his lone season with Miami, Achiuwa attempted just one 3-pointer. It’s one thing to gradually become an effective shooter, but going from a complete non-factor from deep to a lethal weapon for a playoff team is almost unprecedented.
Achiuwa told reporters that the constant tutoring of the Raptors’ coaching staff and the trust instilled in him by his teammates were the two main contributing factors in his success. A hesitant shooter earlier in the year, Achiuwa has been given complete freedom to turn it loose.
“I’m in a situation where I put a lot of work in, obviously on all parts of my game,” Achiuwa said. “My teammates and the coaching staff, they definitely told me I got to shoot the ball.” Whatever Nick Nurse is telling him seems to be working, as Achiuwa’s numbers are up there with the most impressive big men shooters in the game.
Precious Achiuwa credited the Toronto Raptors coaches for his play.
Achiuwa is making 41.3% of his 3-point attempts since the All-Star break ended, taking nearly four shots per game. Even the mighty Karl-Anthony Towns can’t match numbers like that. While he could stand to improve his finishing around the rim, Achiuwa’s 3-point shooting has made him a legitimate offensive weapon.
Achiuwa has made these strides as a scorer without losing any of his effectiveness as a rebounder or defender. Masai Ujiri acquired him knowing that Achiuwa was very raw, but trusting in Nurse’s ability to turn poor shooters into effective snipers proved wise once again.
Achiuwa is now the team’s Sixth Man, and he’ll likely fill that role next season considering how all five projected starters are currently under contract. In the short term, his shooting has given the Raptors a much-needed boost as they continue to shock the world and make a charge at a postseason spot.