2. Precious Achiuwa is headed for a breakout season
The last two months of the 2021-22 season saw a drastic change in Achiuwa’s offensive abilities. A former non-shooting, non-handling, undersized big became a fluid, inside-outside, two-way force. We also saw some big scoring games in the playoffs, namely a hard-fought Game 3 in which Precious put up 20 points.
Achiuwa may be the ex-factor for the Raptors’ bench his season. If he can continue to trend upward as a scorer, the team’s ability to run versatile lineups out there on the floor gets one more man. He can hit threes now, but can he do anything more?
The Raptors’ preseason finale against Boston saw Precious as the lone rotation player closing out games with the bottom of the bench. Why would Nick Nurse do that? It’s not as if Precious has to acclimate to the skills of Josh Jackson and Jeff Dowtin.
The Toronto Raptors will prioritize Precious Achiuwa.
It’s about Precious taking the next step as an offensive threat. It was the same way with Anunoby when he was coming up. This athletic forward with great defensive instincts has learned how to hit a corner three, come off a pin-down and spot up in transition.” Now he needs to perfect creating his own shot.
The next step for Precious is to learn not just how to finish the play when he’s fed, but to start creating his own looks out of the face-up and with moves on the drive. It’s more difficult, and requires a higher level of basketball acumen, but we’ve seen flashes that suggest he can do it.
Whether or not he takes that next step this year, we know, at the very least, Toronto will have a more dangerous version of Achiuwa than they did coming into last season. Let’s see how high he’ll rise.