Should Precious Achiuwa stay in Raptors starting lineup?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 20: Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 20: Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Everything that could have possibly gone wrong for the Toronto Raptors in their playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers has gone wrong. Outside of a few standouts like Precious Achiuwa and Pascal Siakam, the Raptors have been getting their butts kicked by Joel Embiid.

One of the few moments that Raptors fans can look back on fondly in this series was how Achiuwa was helping Toronto get off to such a hot start. The Raptors took a quick 11-2 lead before the roof caved in and Philadelphia started making every shot they were taking.

The Raptors’ starting lineup might feature all of their five best players, but that lineup hasn’t been as dominant as you would have expected given some of the advanced numbers. A starting lineup change has been ping-ponging around Raptors Twitter for quite some time, and Achiuwa has renewed calls for a change.

Achiuwa might need to be put back in the starting lineup, which could push a player like Trent to the bench. Nick Nurse has done some crazy things in the playoffs before, and he could do it again if he thinks that Achiuwa’s rebounding and dominant defense could be the secret ingredient that wakes Toronto up.

Should the Toronto Raptors start Precious Achiuwa?

Assuming that Barnes at some point returns to full health, the player that will most likely move to the bench to make room for Achiuwa is their standout fourth-year sniper. Trent has been an invaluable asset over the course of the regular season, but he has been pitiful in the postseason while fighting through a mysterious illness.

Achiuwa is not just an interesting defensive piece. He’s starting to evolve into a near-elite on-ball defender for one of the best defensive teams in the regular season. With Embiid getting free reign of the paint to this point, the Raptors need to give Achiuwa as much leeway and minutes on the floor as possible.

No longer such an offensive liability that Raptors fans had to cover their eyes when he spots up from 3-point range, throwing an athletic big body like Achiuwa at Embiid and the rest of this 76ers attack could throw Philadelphia off their game just a notch. Could that help them steal a win?

If Trent plays at a level even approximating half of what he was in the regular season, he could be an effective bench gunner that plays an influential role in helping Toronto win the non-Embiid minutes. It might sound desperate, but being down 0-2 could make Nurse do some wild things.

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