NBA Draft 2020 Profile: Precious Achiuwa’s athleticism and work ethic could fit well with Nuggets
With the NBA Draft a little more than a week out, Nuggets.com takes a look at 10 prospects who have been heavily-linked to the team through various mock drafts.
Precious Achiuwa certainly values perseverance, a trait that should serve him well in the NBA and make him a great culture fit in Denver.
As an immigrant to New York City from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Achiuwa commuted up to four hours a day via subway from Queens to the Bronx to get his basketball dream going at Our Saviour Lutheran School. That journey would take him out of the Five Boroughs and ultimately allow him to showcase his tenacious game in a standout sole campaign at Penny Hardaway’s Memphis program.
Achiuwa could add some much-needed bounce on both ends for the Nuggets, who are facing big decisions in the frontcourt this offseason with Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee all free agents. Even if all three players stay, Achiuwa’s athleticism and range could be an enticing proposition for the front office to consider.
Here is more about Achiuwa:
Weight: 225 pounds
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace/Mo Harkless
Achiuwa, 21, started playing basketball at 14 after largely playing soccer in Nigeria, so the power forward is still working out the wrinkles in his game. But what he showed in a strong freshman season all but ensures he will be a first-round selection in this year’s draft. Achiuwa was an athletic force for the Tigers last year, impacting both ends of the floor while also keeping defenses honest by hitting at 32.5 percent from behind the arc.
In order for Achiuwa to secure a role in the NBA, he’ll need to add more polish on both ends. The forward is arguably the most athletic player in the draft, but struggles in the half court and can sometimes get lost in reading what the opposing offense is setting up. Considering he is still early in his development, those are things that are teachable. He also have to work on his free- throw shooting, where he shot 55 percent from the stripe. Still, as the reigning AAC Player of the Year and AAC Freshman of the Year, Achiuwa has plenty to offer NBA teams.
What they’re saying:
Positives: The anchor of arguably the top defensive team in college basketball, Achiuwa’s ability to switch onto guards, protect the rim, and finish possessions on the glass shined this season. Becoming a more disciplined defender in his only season at the college level, his potential as a stopper in the NBA is apparent.
Negatives: His ball skills are a work in progress for a prospect considered a tweener forward, not quite a particularly good ball handler or shooter for a wing at this stage.
Here are highlights from Achiuwa's season-high 25 points against Ole Miss: