Precious Achiuwa: Defensive Superstar

On the extremely impactful defense Precious Achiuwa provides.

Precious Achiuwa is somehow the calm and the storm all wrapped up into one player. Achiuwa is a player who will make you shake your head one second and cheer him on the next, he plays a chaotic, high energy style of basketball and impacts the game massively whenever he touches the floor. Toronto has struggled defensively all season long and when Precious is on the floor he is able to heavily aid some of his teammates on that end.

Precious Achiuwa is a 6’9 forward with a 7’1 wingspan and he uses all of his length to alter, deter, and block shots. Precious guards every position and his defensive skillset is extremely valuable. Not only can he guard at the rim, he can also step out on the perimeter and guard ball handlers effectively.

Precious has the footspeed to stay connected to Jaylen Brown during the drive and he had the strength to not get bumped off his spot by Brown, and he also has the length and patience to not go for any fakes and to bother the fade. 

Precious is a rare combination of speed, IQ, strength, and length that makes guarding anyone in this league a simpler task than it is for most. Where this current Toronto Raptors team benefits the most from Achiuwa’s talents is at the rim, most notably helping at the rim.

This shows off the understanding that Precious has as a defender, he positions himself between Knight and Edwards perfectly as to not give up the roll and takes a good angle going to the rim to contest the layup by Edwards. On a Toronto team plagued by subpar guard defense, Precious as a support system is a wonderful thing to have.

It is a rare occurrence for Precious to be in foul trouble, he is averaging only 1.8 fouls per game this season. He knows how to get clean contests, use verticality, keep his hands down and use his body, for a third year player this is extremely rare. Precious is not only one of the best young defenders in the NBA, he is one of the best defenders in the NBA period, and he doesn’t really have any weaknesses on that end.

Here Precious slides over at the perfect time to get the block, the timing on this rotation is important because too early and it’s an easy kickout to Russell in the corner, Precious just has the feel of when to slide over to gear up for the block.

Precious’s instincts on defense are extremely special and come second nature to him, and he really has been a bright spot on an otherwise bleak Toronto Raptors season.

Here Precious successfully stops the ball in transition and then helps out OG Anunoby who was behind his man by sliding over to contest the layup and force the miss. Once again Precious shows off his quick processing and footspeed on the defensive end, he understands that he has to contain the ball and then he has the quickness to get a contest on a man running in transition.

With the way Toronto’s season has gone it would be easy to let what Precious is doing go under the radar. A silver lining for this season is that Toronto has such a special defender like this on their roster for the future and for the present, things may be in flux right  now but Precious will always give you great minutes filled with tenacity, energy, and just brilliance on the defensive end.

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