Toronto Raptors start, bench, cut: Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher, Christian Koloko

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 14: Christian Koloko #35 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 14: Christian Koloko #35 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors have tried to make improvements to the roster over the last few months, but the remnants of Masai Ujiri’s seemingly abandoned “Vision 6-9” project are still around. This team has an excess of similarly sized power forwards, including Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher.

On top of the fact that Achiuwa and Boucher will once again be fighting for rotation minutes, both Thad Young and Otto Porter Jr. seem poised to start the season on the outside looking in. Second-year center Christian Koloko is already starting to feel the squeeze of the Raptors’ rotation crunch.

It seems quite unwise for Ujiri to continue plodding away with so many players at one position (many of whom are below-average shooters) for the 2023-24 season and beyond. The Raptors may only need to keep a couple of these players, jettisoning one via a trade at some point.

It’s time to examine the trio of Achiuwa, Boucher, and Koloko, who will play roles for the Raptors this season. Which one should the Raptors put in a very prominent role, which one should Toronto keep on the bench, and which should be considered for a move elsewhere?

Start, Bench, Cut: Toronto Raptors big men

Start: Precious Achiuwa

Achiuwa’s highs make him look like a future All-Star, but his lows can be so disheartening that it makes you question why Ujiri and the front office continues to bang their head against a wall. That volatility hasn’t eroded, but he’s shown more consistency in his third NBA season.

Achiuwa’s finishing took some incremental steps forward, even if his 3-point shooting took steps backward. The offense is a work in progress, but Achiuwa became a tremendous rebounder and one of the best young on-ball defenders in the Eastern Conference last year.

The Toronto Raptors must lean on Precious Achiuwa.

The defense Achiuwa has shown makes him not only a solid rotation player, but he could become a potential All-Defensive team selection at his peak. Achiuwa has welcomed the challenge of facing some of the best players in the league, and his combination of mobility and muscle has helped him thrive.

Achiuwa’s offense may have stalled under Nick Nurse, but Ujiri hasn’t seen him under the offensive tutelage of former Mike Budenholzer disciple and Memphis Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic. Perhaps he could be the secret ingredient that gets the most out of Achiuwa.