2. Precious Achiuwa: Center-Memphis
The Houston Rockets currently do not have a center and it cost them dearly in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers. Precious Achiuwa is a physical marvel that has the tools to be an elite defensive big who can switch screens on the perimeter and defend the paint.
As an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks last season, Houston Rockets’ head coach Stephen Silas, deployed a deadly pick-and-roll to power the league’s highest-rated offense. Achiuwa could slot in from day one as a lethal pick-and-roll rim runner who slams home easy lobs and creates driving lanes for guards.
Early in his career, Achiwua’s role on offense will be as a pick and roll runner and putback artist with the development of the rest of his offensive game dictating his ceiling. In his lone season at Memphis, Achiwua shot 59.9-percent from the free-throw line, which limits the likelihood that he’ll ever have the range to be a 3-point threat.
The appeal in drafting Achiuwa is that he fills an immediate area of need on defense and could fit into lineups with whatever remains of the Rockets’ current roster. The hard pill to swallow for Rockets fans is that drafting Achiuwa will mean it was a mistake to trade Clint Capela in the first place.
Elite defensive big men can keep an otherwise shaky defensive unit afloat. The Utah Jazz have been able to add more and more scoring to their lineups because Rudy Gobert can cover-up the rest of the roster’s defensive limitations.
Precious Achiuwa’s upside is as a transformative defensive player that could average around 15 to 16 points a game at his peak. While his floor is as a high-energy center who provides value on the glass and in the pick and roll, something the Rockets currently lack.
Next: Prospect No. 1