Will Precious Achiuwa be a floor spacer?

On the potential of Precious Achiuwa as a floor spacer.

Floor spacing is one of the most coveted skills in the NBA currently. This skill is even more coveted in big men. The opportunity for your big man to be able to step out and draw other bigs out of the paint and really stretch the defense out is something every team would love to have. The Toronto Raptors are no different and they have a gem who may allow them to add this wrinkle into their offense.

Precious Achiuwa’s sophomore season with the Toronto Raptors could best be described as encouraging. NBA fans watched Precious cement his spot as a rotation player after coming into the season an unproven guy with immense upside. There could be endless conversations about Precious’ potential in many different facets of the game but the skill I find the most noteworthy is his potential as a three point shooter.

In order to truly understand the strides Precious made as a shooter in his debut season we must start with some bad. To begin the season Precious was for lack of a better term, all over the place. Whether it was failing to convert lob attempts on pnrs or wildly attacking closeouts and forcing up bad shots, Precious was struggling to find his place in the offense. Specifically as a shooter Precious seemed to be hesitant to pull the trigger even when the defense gave him ample opportunity to let it fly. This hesitancy most likely stems from his lack of shooting reps as a member of the Miami Heat the season prior. There was also a lack of playing time as a rookie which can also be pointed to as a reason for his lack of success on offense early on in the season. This was reflected in his pre all star break 3p shooting splits which was 30.5% on 1.2 threes per game.

However, as the season progressed so did Precious’ three point shot. Through trial by fire Precious was able to put up very good shooting splits post all star break. Through a myriad of pick and pops, ghost screens, and trailer plays Precious was able to post post all star break shooting splits of 39.2% on 3.9 threes per game. The increase in attempts is a sign of increasing comfort with shooting and also an immense confidence in his game and trust in him as a player by Nick Nurse. Precious did the majority of his damage on catch and shoot jumpers but unlike earlier in the season he showed little to no hesitancy when it came time to pull the trigger. When he was presented with the space to pull, which was often, he quickly fired away with his smooth jumper and burned many defenses who dared to leave him uncovered behind the arc.

While Precious’ shooting progression has gone well so far, teams continued to guard him by giving him plenty of space for his jumpers. The true mark of spacing is when you are able to have a defense truly commit to you as a shooting threat thus giving the defense one less man to muck up the on ball actions and as of right now Precious isn’t there, yet. The next step for Precious as a three point shooter is to begin to take and make more contested threes so he can really stretch out the defense. Last season his highest frequency of three point shots were wide open(closest defender being 6 feet away) and this should change this after the stretch he closed the season out with. This season will test Precious’ ability to knock down jumpers when a team actually guards him and I think he is more than capable of being an efficient shooter when this happens. As the went on and Precious got more comfortable he started to take more daring threes whether it be expanding his range or early shot clock and a player with confidence like that is one that you should bet on any day.

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