A bundle of diverse, raw talent, Memphis’s Precious Achiuwa is being projected to go around the time the Milwaukee Bucks could be on the clock in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Weight: 225 pounds
Per Game Stats:
Despite playing just one season at Memphis, Precious Achiuwa will turn 21-years-old before the NBA Draft even takes place. His game reflects that of a talented, yet raw, prospect with only one year of major college experience under his belt even if he’s the same age as most college juniors. It could simply be that he’s a late-bloomer and, if that’s the case, he’s well worth a pick in the late first round due to his potential upside. He has a bunch of budding skills that could be useful at the next level if he’s able to refine his craft. Let’s take a deep dive into his game.
Energy/Hustle: The dude is all over the place and works harder than just about anybody on the court. He never gives up on a loose ball, and specializes in offensive rebounding. He boxes out on offense like most players do at the other end of the court, and loves to bang around on the boards. He has a good second jump and his long arms (7’2” wingspan) allow him to get his hands on a ton of rebounds. He also enjoys running the floor in transition (with or without the ball) and gets a fair amount of shots around the rim as a result. He still needs to show the same energy level on defense at all times, as he sometimes loses interest at that end.
Athleticism: His athleticism opens doors to multiple positions at the NBA level. He’s one of the fastest players you’ll find in this class—big man or otherwise—and shows it off in the open court. When given a runway, he’ll soar above the rim and throw it down with enthusiasm. He also has good lateral quickness.
Defensive Versatility: At 6’9” and 225 pounds, Achiuwa can (theoretically) already defend multiple positions. He’s big and strong enough to match up with 4s, and could potentially add some more strength to defend 5s. He has great leaping ability and his long arms allow him to make up for some lost height. He also has good mobility and lateral quickness to defend bigger wings. He lacks discipline and interest on defense, but if he can hone in on that end of the court, he’ll be able to defend at three positions adequately.
Areas for Improvement
Shot: The biggest question mark about his game is his shot. From all areas of the floor. He only made 32.5 percent of his threes at Memphis, but that might even be optimistic considering all the other signs. His shot is all over the place, and he has different forms depending on if it’s a catch-and-shoot or pull-up. He also only made 59.9 percent of his free throws—a more accurate indicator of future three-point success than college three-point percentage. He’ll need to develop an outside shot if he wants to stick around the league for a while. His shot selection also leaves a lot to be desired.
Raw Skills: It’s true Achiuwa has a diverse skill set (can attack off the bounce, run the court, block shots, etc), but most of skills are extremely raw and require a lot of development. He certainly has a foundation in place that could lead to a successful NBA career, but it will take a lot of work for him to get there.
- Can take a defensive rebound the length of the floor with his dribble
- Has solid ball-handling skills for a big
- Needs to add strength?
- Thinks he can shoot off the bounce
- High defensive stance and falls for a lot of fakes
- Averaged three offensive rebounds per game!
- Uses long arms to make life difficult for offensive players
Potential bits of JaJuan Johnson, Ivan Rabb, Paul Millsap, Kenneth Faried and Montrezl Harrell
There’s a ton of potential to Achiuwa’s game. Will he even come close to reaching that potential? That may be the most difficult question to answer.
For someone who projects as a 4 in the NBA, he has good handles for his size. He showed off a number of crossovers and hesitations in the halfcourt, not to mention the ability to bring the ball up on fast breaks. Watch here as he catches a pass at the top of the key, hits his man with a left-to-right crossover before attacking toward the basket and stopping on a dime to hit the floater.
He also runs the floor hard and is at his best in transition—with or without the ball. He’s one of the fastest players in this class and loves to show off his speed. He’s also a great vertical leaper when given a runway and can finish above the rim with that great jumping ability and long arms.
He’s an extremely hard worker—specifically on offense. He’ll win more than his fair share of 50/50 balls and dominates the offensive boards. When a shot goes up, you can often see him near the hoop boxing out a defender before rising high to snag the rock. He can then use his second or third jumps to get off the ground faster than everyone else and get easy tip-ins.
Defensively, he’s agile laterally and can slide his feet with wings on the perimeter. He’s also big and long enough to defend 4s and 5s. The issue is he doesn’t appear to care about defense nearly as much as offense.
I do question his strength even though he’s listed at 225 pounds and has a chiseled frame. He gets bumped off his spot far too often—on both ends of the court—and it can affect his timing. When driving to the hoop, he sometimes loses balance from simple contact with the defender. When trying to body with someone in the post, it often takes him a bump or two to maintain his position. That’s valuable ground he can’t give up in the NBA.
His shot selection is another concern. I wonder if he sees himself as a guard given his propensity to take contested pull-up Js. It’s not as if he’s particularly good at them either.
At the end of the day, Achiuwa is a high-risk, high-reward prospect who might not develop for some time. That could be problematic given the Bucks’ win-now mode depending on what happens with Giannis Antetokounmpo in free agency. If Milwaukee chooses to bring back Marvin Williams or Ersan Ilyasova, Achiuwa could be their long-term plan as a backup forward or big to fill their shoes in a year or two.
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