The Toronto Raptors' recent performances against the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers weren't anything to write home about. While Darko Rajakovic was brought on to fix this team's offensive malaise, nights light Tuesday look exactly like they were pulled out of the Nick Nurse season from hell last year.
Precious Achiuwa has, like many members of the Raptors' bench in recent months (or years), been very volatile on the court. In one game, he'll look like a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. The next, he'll look borderline unplayable. The Brooklyn game was one of the unplayable ones.
In just 10 minutes during Toronto's 115-103 loss, Achiuwa missed all four of his shots, committed three personal fouls, turned the ball over, and made just one of his four free throws. Chris Boucher, meanwhile, amassed 13 points on 5-7 shooting in just 12 minutes.
While he clearly has tons of promise, and he is a terrific defender no matter what he's doing on offense, the time has come for Rajakovic to make a change and sit Achiuwa on the bench. The replacement options aren't very enticing either, but someone has to say enough. He can't keep performing like this.
The Toronto Raptors need to bench Precious Achiuwa.
While Boucher is certainly not a perfect player, and his fit may be just as incongruous as Achiuwa, Toronto played with a certain energy and vigor when he came into the game. As a shooter, Boucher remains much more skilled in this area than Achiuwa despite all the time invested in him.
If Precious isn't defending out of his mind, which is becoming rarer this season, what does he do well? His 3-point shooting from 2021-22 seems to be a complete fluke, his finishing is still terrible for a player who plays around the rim as much as he does, and the mind-numbing mental mistakes are happening more than ever.
Nurse was not above sitting Boucher down a few times, and he usually responded well after being reinserted into the lineup. While Jalen McDaniels hasn't lit up the stat sheet in his limited action, he looks more like the player Toronto thought they were getting after his benching. Maybe Achiuwa needs some time to chill out.
What isn't tenable is trying to put Achiuwa out there when he isn't shooting well, finishing at the rim, or avoiding turnovers that make it look like he had the concept of basketball explained to him 20 minutes before the game. He needs to stay in his warmups for a game or two, just to recalibrate.