Age: 20 (September 19, 1999)
Weight: 234 lbs
Precious Achiuwa has many of the skills that many great modern day 4s have. Achiuwa has great size for a PF and moves well for his size. Achiuwa has the grab and go ability off rebounds and can initiate the break himself. His versatility defensively is going to help any team as he will be able to switch a decent amount. His combination of length, speed, and strength will allow him to guard many great forwards potentially. He has improved on this end of the floor significantly over his lone college season as he became the vocal leader of the Memphis defense. His SPG went down to 1.1 when he switched to playing more of the 5 position, but his blocks went up to 1.9 per game. He also did a great job of defending without fouling, which is uncommon to see for someone who started basketball as late as he did. He is very coachable so that along with the physical tools and natural instincts should make him a great defender. On offense, there is some serious potential as well. He is a good ball-handler for someone his size as he can handle the ball in the open floor. Achiuwa can also finish at the rim fairly well and even when he doesn’t, he has a pogo-stick like ability to bounce back and get his own rebound many times. He has good concentration and can finish in many ways around the rim. He showed flashes that he can finish euros, spin layups, hopsteps, and more. He knows how to draw contact too as he got to the line 6.0 times per game. He can stretch the defense out a bit as well as a shooter. He hit 3s at a 32.5% clip and showed strong upper body mechanics.
The jump-shot will be an area Precious will have to clean up. His footwork is rather sloppy as at times his feet will start staggered and has a tendency to turn while in mid-air to where his right foot will land far in front of his left. This is a problem good repetition should be able to fix though. Achiuwa’s biggest weakness is his decision making. Achiuwa would take some dumb shots, but got bailed out at times with his ability to get his own shot back. He won’t have that same luxury though in the NBA against good athletes. Achiuwa will also need to make sure he is not taking dumb, contested pull-up jump shots, becuase that was when he would get in trouble and really hurt his team. Maybe he can hit a pull-up jumper in the future, but he is a long ways a way from that happening. As a passer, Achiuwa needs to improve significantly. His 2.8 TPG to 1.0 APG is not up to par and will have to show teams he’s capable of making the smart play. He doesn’t even need to be a great passer; just good enough to make the simple play. As of now, if a team threw a double team at him, his lack of general awareness and passing ability would probably result in a turnover. He just needs to read the defense and think more before he gets the ball about what he is going to do with it rather than trying to make an illogical play and forcing something that isn’t there. As a defender he needs to keep a consistent motor. On occasion, he would sometimes get caught flat-footed and out of his stance on the perimeter. Overall, there is still a lot about the game he has to learn as he didn’t grow up playing AAU ball like many other high level prospects. He didn’t start playing basketball until the age of 13, so he doesn’t have the same fundamentals or knowledge of the game as someone who’s been in the states and playing since they were 5 years old.
Despite starting late, it is evident how much he improves from the start of one season to the next. This is reminiscent of players that have won Most Improved Player in the past like Giannis and Pascal in that sense where they just make huge leaps. So despite the fact he doesn’t have the game fully grasped yet, he is still so productive even without a great IQ. Achiuwa shows strong similarities to a Pascal Siakam where if he can continue to improve and be above average in many categories combined with his athleticism gives him enormous upside. He doesn’t have as long of a wingspan as Siakam at 7’3, but what he lacks in length, he makes up for in strength with his broad shoulders and strong frame. However, it is most likely Precious doesn’t reach the level of an all-star like Pascal Siakam, because it takes a rare work ethic along with a lot of what ifs to be answered. He will become a very good player if a team is patient. It will take him some time to put his game fully together and really contribute for a team. Once he does though, he will eventually reach the level of a starter and possibly become more. Teams that should be targeting him are the Suns (10th), Kings (12th), and Pelicans (13th).
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Photo (before the edit) credit to Larry Kuzniewski (https://www.memphisflyer.com/TigerBlue/archives/2019/11/23/tigers-scrape-by-ole-miss-87-86?media=AMP+HTML)
Listed measurements found on NBA.com (https://www.nba.com/draft/2020/prospects/precious-achiuwa#/)
Stats found on Sports-Reference (https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/precious-achiuwa-1.html)