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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Precious Achiuwa

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If Achiuwa is still on the board at No. 18, the Mavs should take a long look at him.

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Precious Achiuwa may not be the most talented prospect out of Memphis, but he’s no slouch, either. He could end up being a long-time NBA starter with a unique skill set.

The Specs

Height: 6’9”

Weight: 234 lbs

Wingspan: 7’1.5”

Key Notes

Offense

  • Elite offensive rebounder
  • Capable shooter with potential to be an above-average floor spacer
  • Can run the floor with or without the ball
  • Timely roller; knows when to release his screens
  • Room to grow as a playmaker, especially out of the pick-and-roll
  • Needs to improve at pulling-up off the dribble
  • Great hands for a big man
  • Uses both hands around the rim

Defense

  • Incredible shot blocker
  • Strong enough to guard bigs that are taller than him
  • Will need to improve his lateral quickness to stay in front of NBA wings
  • Has the potential to be a defensive stalwart
  • High-IQ defensive rebounder

Active Player Comparisons

If everything goes wrong: A poor man’s Daniel Theis

If everything goes right: A defensive-minded John Collins

Most Realistic Outcome: Montrezl Harrell

Stats and Accomplishments

2019-20 AAC Player of the Year, All-AAC First Team, AAC Rookie of the Year, AAC All-Freshman

Best Games Last Season

Memphis vs. Tulane, February 29, 2020

22 points (9-of-16 FG), 22 rebounds, 5 blocks

Memphis at Houston, March 8, 2020

25 points (9-of-20 FG, 2-of-5 3FG), 15 rebounds, 2 assists

3 Key Things

1. Rebounding

Defensive possessions don’t end until the rebound is secured, right? So what’s an important part of playing quality NBA defense? That’s right! Rebounding.

When it comes to rebounding, there aren’t many (if any) better prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft than Achiuwa. He’s only 6-foot-9, but he’s a master on the glass. He uses his 234-pound body and 7-foot-1.5 wingspan to bully opponents when the ball is in the air. He’s an expert at coming down with 50-50 balls and because of his rebounding ability, he has the potential to be an elite small-ball five.

2. Transition Play

A big man that can get out and run is a special thing in the NBA, especially when you have a guy like Luka Doncic on the floor at nearly all times. Achiuwa would be an incredible transition running mate for Doncic. He fills the lanes well, can finish above or below the rim (with either hand), and can even bring the ball up himself to make plays.

Dallas was 28th last season in transition points per game, according to NBA.com/Stats. If they want to get out and run a little more, Achiuwa is the guy to help.

3. Defensive Versatility

Right now, Achiuwa isn’t quick enough to stay in front of elite NBA wings. On the other hand, he is long and strong enough to guard nearly every four or five. In a few years, after he spends some time with NBA trainers, he should develop good enough lateral quickness to guard most wings. If Achiuwa can turn into a high-level switchable defender, he’ll have a place in both small and big lineups.

The Checklist

Role with the Mavericks

Achiuwa isn’t going to be a starting NBA center right off the bat. He’ll need time to develop his handle, decision-making, and shooting. However, he can be an elite sixth man right away. He already has the body to be an impact player in the NBA. Combine his body with his energy and you have someone who’s ready to be a rim-running, shot-blocking, dunk-slamming reserve. Plus, it’s not bad to have extra bodies in the front court when your second-best player (Kristaps Porzingis) is made of glass.

We’ll have a better idea of Porzingis’ ability to stay healthy after a couple more seasons, and by then, Achiuwa might be ready to take over for him if the Mavs decide to move on from the Latvian.

Summary

If Precious Achiuwa is available at No. 18, it’s a no-brainer for the Mavs. He’s a home run at that point in the draft. The problem is there’s a decent chance he won’t be available at No. 18. Depending on who you listen to, Achiuwa is considered to be anywhere from a mid-lottery to late-first round guy. Is Achiuwa guaranteed to be successful at the next level? Of course not, so it’s not worth getting too upset over if he’s gone by the time the Mavs are on the clock. But if Dallas can somehow snag him, that’s incredible value halfway through the first round.