Being underrated is nothing new to the Toronto Raptors or their fanbase, especially when they’re in the postseason picture. How many teams that have a championship in the last five years and are fresh off a 48-win season get talked about this infrequently?
The Raptors have an All-Star point guard in Fred VanVleet, an All-NBA player in Pascal Siakam, and the Rookie of the Year in Scottie Barnes on the roster. Despite all of that, some of the bookmakers over in Las Vegas appear to be banking on a slight regression from Toronto.
The Raptors’ collection of tertiary scorers and role players rank among the league’s best, as Nick Nurse did a wonderful of making sure that all of these standouts developed while still giving Siakam and VanVleet the diet of shots they need to succeed.
These three Toronto Raptors remain incredibly underrated by the basketball media landscape. If the Raptors make some noise in the postseason and all of their role players take a step forward under Nurse’s watch, the rest of the NBA should finally be made well aware of how deep and talented this team is.
3 most underrated Toronto Raptors players
3. Precious Achiuwa
Achiuwa was always going to be a curious evaluation. His defensive versatility looked like it was bestowed upon him for the exact purpose of playing under Ujiri, but he was painfully raw as a scorer and finisher. The second half of the season worked wonders with regard to how Achiuwa performed.
Averaging 12.2 points per game after the All-Star break is one thing, and making 39% of your 3-point attempts in that stretch one year after attempting just one triple is another. Doing both of those things simultaneously while remaining one of the best defenders on a defense-first team is exceptional.
Toronto Raptors: Precious Achiuwa is a quality big man.
Achiuwa remains a defensive stalwart, as he relishes the task of guarding some of the opposing team’s best players. That rare short-area explosion makes him one of the few young defenders in the league for whom the “positionless” label on defense is by no means hyperbole.
Achiuwa still has a ways to go on offense due to his iffy play around the rim, but the fact that Toronto chose not to add a big name at the center position speaks to just how valuable they think Achiuwa can be. If he can commit one or two post moves to memory, Precious could get the nitro boost he has been looking for.