Trying to figure out which blockbuster trades can improve the Toronto Raptors is always one of the most fun parts of any given offseason. However, considering how young players like Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa bettered themselves last season, they need to be careful about parting ways with some of their improved talents.
The Raptors have all five of their projected starters. Their three-headed monster of Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleetwill not be broken up. Trent and OG Anunoby are staying put for anything other than a seismic move. This leaves Masai Ujiri to scrape together a package from the back end of the roster.
Given Achiuwa’s salary and improved production during the second half of the season, there is a non-zero chance that he gets moved for the second time in his career. Doing so would be detrimental to Toronto’s immediate and long-term ambitions given what a jewel he turned out to be.
While both he and Anunoby can be valuable pieces in trades that could help bring potential All-Stars to Toronto, Achiuwa should be able to make that leap next year. Any team that asks for Achiuwa needs to be shut down by Ujiri, as he is right on the cusp of truly breaking out.
The Toronto Raptors can’t trade Precious Achiuwa.
Achiuwa averaged 12.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game after the All-Star break. Not only did Achiuwa convert on 46% of his shots, but he made 39% of his 3-pointers on 3.9 attempts per game. That’s a sharp change from the overwhelmed rookie who attempted just one 3-pointer in Miami.
Achiuwa was always a plus defender who could lock down multiple positions, but he was losing time early in the season thanks to his poor offensive efficiency. While he still isn’t the most dominant or varied offensive player in the world, the developmental chasm he jumped over last year only bodes well for the future.
Achiuwa still needs to work on his interior finishing, but that can be rectified with another year of Nick Nurse’s tutelage. While he could be the centerpiece of some very attractive return packages, he should be able to assume the role of Sixth Man for Toronto next year. That’s not something you can flippantly trade.
Toronto lacks interior depth as it is, and trading Achiuwa could rip one of their most promising young players away from them. The Kyle Lowry trade helped the Raptors reload with a big man that fits in perfectly with Toronto’s scheme. He’s only going to get better, giving the Raptors a maypole around which the improved bench can gravitate.