Precious Achiuwa must be a leader for Raptors with Otto Porter out

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Precious Achiuwa #5 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors didn’t make any significant changes to the roster beyond agreeing to sign Otto Porter Jr. as a veteran sniper off the bench. He and Precious Achiuwa were supposed to be the two key catalysts in turning the Raptors into a feared bench unit following 2021-22’s poor effort in that area.

Achiuwa has been inconsistent (one of his major flaws from last season) with Toronto this year. While he recorded 28 points and 33 rebounds in just two games against his old team in the Miami Heat, Achiuwa has recorded 21 points in his other four games this year.

The cavalry may not be coming for a while, as Porter will remain out for a bit due to personal reasons. This will strain the Raptors’ already suspect bench to breaking point, asking even more out of Achiuwa and Chris Boucher against a very difficult schedule for a this young team.

When tasked to answer the call last year, Achiuwa came through in bunches with a fantastic showing. Is he capable of doing the same in 2022-23? The Raptors have certainly built this roster with the expectation that Achiuwa will break out, and now it’s time to prove them right.

Toronto Raptors: Precious Achiuwa must impress without Otto Porter Jr.

Achiuwa’s second-half surge last season gave the Raptors hope that he could evolve into a star-caliber player, as he averaged 12.2 points per game after the All-Star break while showing off expert 3-point marksmanship. This year, he’s looked like the same scorer that has issues finishing at the rim.

Achiuwa’s energy and athleticism make him an amazing defender, but the number of possessions where he’s been called for a charge, lost his handle, or missed a makeable shot due to the momentum he’s built up in transition are alarmingly high. Playing in control and within himself is going to be critical for him.

Achiuwa has made just 23% of his 3-pointers this season, making him one of the few Raptors who isn’t pulling their weight in that area. With Porter’s shooting being perhaps the trait Toronto coveted more than any other when they were looking to sign him, Achiuwa getting back to his old form would be exactly what this team needs.

Achiuwa is the Raptors’ de facto Sixth Man, and that role comes with the expectation that he is going to stabilize a weak unit and play a role in taking Toronto over the top. With some tough opponents in Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago coming up, his skills will be put to the test.

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