In what is considered a down draft, smart teams selecting in the double digits will be looking for one of two kinds of players. One is very raw players with impressive athleticism and a lot of potential who could develop into quality players and maybe stars down the line—the swing-for-the-fences pick.
Or, teams will take guys who can fill a role in the modern NBA and contribute fairly quickly in that spot.
Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa could be that latter kind of player, with some upside, and he announced he is entering the NBA draft.
Achiuwa is considered a bubble lottery pick, he’s 6’9″ but with a 7’2″ wingspan and good defensive instincts.
NBC Sports’ college ball guru Rob Dauster discussed the potential for Achiuwa on a recent PBT Podcast. He said the key is less physical and more mental.
“I think he’s going to buy into this idea that he is a five,” Dauster said. “If he does, if he fully buys in, he is a guy who can do all of those things: He averaged 16 points, 11 boards and a couple blocks [Ed. note: 15.8/10.8/1.9], he’s switchable, he’s 6’9”, he’s explosive…
“The thing with his is Precious Achiuwa is going to be 21 before he plays an NBA game. People talk about Cole Anthony being old, Precious Achiuwa is eight months older than him. (Achiuwa) is two months younger than Kaleb Wesson (of Ohio State) and Wesson is a junior in college. If you’re drafting him, you have to know he is more or less a finished product. Right now he can go out there and contribute. I don’t think he has the same kind of ceiling Bam Adebayo does, or that Onyeka Okongwu does, he’s not as explosive, he’s not as strong, but he’s able to play with the ball on the perimeter a little bit and he shot 33 percent from three.
“I think he’s a guy who does have a role in the NBA as long as he buys into the idea ‘I’m a five.'”
I envision an energy big off the bench in more of a Montrezl Harrell role (although reaching the standards of Harrell would be difficult, Achiuwa is not quite as athletic). There are a lot of teams who could use a guy like that, especially if he can be consistent enough from three to stretch the floor.
Achiuwa told ESPN he is getting an agent and staying in the draft. Which in his case seems a smart move.
While the NBA draft is still scheduled for June 25, nobody around the league expects it to take place around that day. The draft process is in flux and most around the league expect it to be pushed back until August or later, after whatever portion of this season is played (if it is played).