Amit Mann and C.J. Miles discuss how Precious Achiuwa can affect what ails the Raptors. Listen to the full episode on the “Raptors Over Everything” podcast feed or watch on our YouTube.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: So Precious Achiuwa has only played 12 games this year.


AMIT MANN: More often than not in those 12 games, he was not really put with the starters. He was put in tandem with Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa. They came in at the same time. They would play their minutes. They were playing similar minutes.

And also, the Raptors were healthier at that point, so there was a lot of tinkering happening. Otto Porter, Jr., was there. So he didn’t really find a niche, necessarily. We didn’t see the Precious from last season.

How much does he change with this team if he is there right now? I think there’s– I mean, I did a podcast with another fellow, Louis Zatzman, a few days ago. We were going through, like, confidence checks on assorted items.

And he was saying that, yeah, I mean, we talk about the Raptor needing a rim protector and someone who can attack closeouts and hit 3’s. And he’s like, you know, if we get the Precious from the second half of last season, a lot of that stuff is figured out.

And that’s a big reason why the Raptors were so good in the second half, is Precious Achiuwa was doing the things that they desperately needed, right? Like, I’m talking about him shooting 35%. In the second half, he shot, like, 40% from 3.


AMIT MANN: That was insane. He was doing that. And it’s just like, how much does he change with this team if he’s able to get back to that kind of form within the current scope of their current roster?

CJ MILES: Like you said, I think a lot of the things you’re looking for, he has the skills to be able to do it. And like, I thought he even looked– earlier this year, the games he did play in, I thought he looked even more mobile than I’d seen him.


CJ MILES: Like, I thought he looked– he had a little shift to him. He’s getting up and down. Looks like he’s in really good shape, not that he wasn’t before. But I just thought he moved better than he did last year.


CJ MILES: I think his jump shot has gotten more and more smoother, as far as you talk about space doing things. And then he’s got a toughness to him. He’s got an energy to him that he brings, that he could, like you said, provide some of the things that we’re looking for.

I don’t know– I think it depends on who he’s with on the floor too, though. I think that’s the biggest thing, is does inserting him for someone else in the starting lineup– is it better than the unit that we have?

Does he not fit with the guys that he’s coming off the bench with because they can’t really get to his strengths with them? I think that’s another thing we don’t want to overlook because a lot of times, we have a lot of players in this league that just don’t get on the floor with the right players sometimes.


CJ MILES: And you can be– and that’s why sometimes, I hate the plus-minus. Like, you look at the plus-minus, and you could be– a guy could have a terrific game, be playing, doing all the things he’s supposed to be doing, and he could just happen to be on the floor when the other team makes a run. And at the end of the game, you look at the plus-minus, and he’s minus nine. But he had three offensive rebounds, six deflections, he did all these things.

AMIT MANN: I agree.

CJ MILES: It just didn’t turn into– so that could also have been the case with him sometimes. Like, it didn’t flow well because of the way the game was going.

Now, you’ve got to stay ready. But I would definitely like to see him get opportunities also, see him get a chance to be able to try to plug in those holes. I think it’s going to take more than a couple of games, too.

You’ve got to give him some time to catch his time. And especially as a shot blocker and a rim protector and a defensive communicator, you’ve got to let those guys get into– that’s a rhythm, like shooting. That’s a confidence like offense.

And we also got to go to him and make sure, you know, that’s what we want from him. We want this especially. Make him a specialist.

Tell him, put it under a magnifying glass, and be like, look, this right here. Everything else will come with the minutes. But this right here, if you can give me this, then we can go a long way.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, part of me thinks that early season, I think Nick Nurse was trying– was doing a lot of tinkering. Like, he was trying to figure out where am I going with all these players that are a similar position, similar statures? Like, how is this going to work?

And so he did the Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa thing. They need bench depth. That kind of works.

I really do want to see him, how he looks with Fred, Pascal, OG, Scottie, and Precious. I think that could be really cool, just as we saw last season. I mean, when it comes to the Raptors scheme, like, more guys that can defend all positions is obviously going to help.

But his quickness, his toughness, his rebounding, and he just– he offers a lot of things that they really need. It’s just is he going to be able to get that up to speed? Like, he’s missed 19 games and counting. He’s not going to get back probably until the early part of the new year– at least, that’s what we think.

It’s a tricky one to figure out. You don’t want to put too much pressure on him. But he could alleviate a lot of these issues that the Raptors have.

And I mean, who knows what happens over these next couple of games? Last time we talked, you were saying, like, this is a pretty crucial step. This is what you want. This is how you get battle-tested. And they lost most of those games.

And now, you’ve got Grizzlies, Suns, Clippers, a couple of tough ones coming up here. And he’s not going to be there. But I think in some ways, they have to try and just plug him into some of these holes provided he’s ready for it, or whenever that time does come, and do it quickly. Because you’ve got to get him up to speed so the Raptors can get up to speed again, too.

CJ MILES: So if I’m them– like, that’s what I mean, too, as far as putting things under a magnifying glass. I’m taking him in the film room after every game.


CJ MILES: And I’m like, look, this, this, this. The second we can put you back out there, you see these holes? You see what we’re doing? I’m asking him questions during the game if I’m one of the assistant coaches.


CJ MILES: I’m walking over to him– did you see where a rotation was missed? I’m just, like, subtly throwing stuff in the forefront– in his mind just to make sure he understands what we’re trying to get at. Because the second we let you back off that leash or you can be back on the floor, whichever one it is– I don’t know if it’s more they’re protecting him or if it’s more he’s just not ready or– whatever one it is, doesn’t matter. But when you get a chance to get out there, if you can provide this, you could change everything.


CJ MILES: Literally, you could change the orchestration of this team.


CJ MILES: Like, you could be– you could be one of our leaders because of this. Because we don’t have a guy that leads in that space.


CJ MILES: So I think you just go at him with that. And then as far as those teams coming up, I think it also gets to show the weight of needing that because these are really good teams.


CJ MILES: So now, when you can show the weight of that and how this takes us to being on par with those really elite teams– because the talent is there. There’s pieces, there’s everything there to be elite. They’ve shown that. But if we can show that that’s needed, then we can really expedite guys’ minds on where we’re trying to go.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, has a chance here to make a real impact, like, instantly.


AMIT MANN: If he comes in and you tell him, to what you’re talking about, we need you to obviously be solid defensively, rotate well. When it comes to the peel switching style, the x-outs, like, be on time, be on target. And then obviously, rim protection, what he did against Joel Embiid, comparable to what other players do in the NBA. I mean, it was pretty damn good what he did last season.

And then on offense, I mean, just 3-point shots. 3-point shots, transition scoring, it’s really it. You don’t need him to necessarily even attack closeouts yet, right? Like, don’t even be so overzealous with that. Just–

CJ MILES: Yeah, exactly.

AMIT MANN: –get yourself into that, just if you’re able to hit shots, right? And I see him sometimes in practice–

CJ MILES: Shoot it or move it.

AMIT MANN: –he’s so strong. Like, there are times where I’ll see him swish, like, four shots in a row. Then all of a sudden, the next one is a major air ball. And I’m thinking, man, this guy is so strong.

It’s like watching Serge Ibaka shoot a ball, right? I can’t believe how strong some of these dudes are, man. And they’re hitting 3’s.

CJ MILES: Yeah, and that’s just repetition, too, to get that fifth shot from being that way. And sometimes, it’s when you’re growing as a shooter in that manner, sometimes it’s not even so much the strength. It’s the mental side of, like, oh, I made four in a row. And you kind of get– you let the emotional side of it kind of run through the process. And it adds so much more to it than it should.

And this happens to a lot of people. Like, this is not just him. This happens to the best of us. Like, people get going, and they kind of get fast and get rushed. The emotions of it get into it.

But I think he’s got the skill set and the talent to be able to really plug a big hole, and–


CJ MILES: –hopefully, he’s able to get back before there’s a change made or something happens that doesn’t allow it to happen. That’s what– I would hate for him to miss that opportunity. Or at least– I would hate for everybody, the whole team to miss the opportunity of seeing him before you make a move.


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