Precious Achiuwa has another big night in Knicks’ blowout win

Precious Achiuwa will never be the centerpiece of a Knicks vs. Raptors blockbuster. That title is reserved for OG Anunoby.

And no matter how long the Knicks continue their post-signing debacle — they went 14-2 after a 118-103 win over the Jazz on Tuesday night — and no matter how long Anunoby remains a vital part of the organization. Continue or it won’t change.

But while the Knicks are operating without Julius Randle, who dislocated his right shoulder on Saturday, Achiuwa has carved out a role in the rotation.

In his second consecutive start, he scored a season-high 18 points, adding five rebounds and two blocks in 40 minutes as the Knicks defeated the Jazz for their eighth straight win.

“I’m getting more and more comfortable with my teammates,” Achiuwa said. “They’re getting used to me and my style of play and just playing the right way and making the right reads.”

Precious Achiuwa celebrates scoring a goal in the Knicks’ 118-103 victory over the Jazz. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Since his arrival, Achiuwa’s role has steadily increased. His debut match started at 8 minutes and 34 seconds. She reached 20 minutes on January 9th. And in the past six games, Achiuwa has logged at least 21 minutes, compared to just six in 25 games with the Raptors this season before his trade.

With Randle out, the Knicks are relying on Achiuwa, who has shown the ability to play both center and Randle’s power forward position, his primary position in Toronto.

“He’s skilled,” Thibodeau said. “He can put the ball on the floor. He can make plays, he has great feet defensively, and I think he can cover a lot of ground when he plays with intensity.”

The precious Achiuwa dunked and scored two of his 18 points in the Knicks' dominant victory.
The precious Achiuwa dunked and scored two of his 18 points in the Knicks’ dominant victory. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

In the first quarter Tuesday, Jalen Brunson passed to a backdoor cutting Achiuwa for a layup, and at one point in the second half Achiuwa caught a transition pass and was surrounded by three Jazz defenders.

At first, it looked like he was going to dribble back. That would have allowed the Knicks to reset their offense. But then he took a few steps back, broke through the defense and took the shot.

“Versatility has always been a strength for me and…we need players, bodies, player appearances, things like that,” Achiuwa said. “Guys need to step up and play. And me and my versatility, I think that’s going to be a benefit to the team.”

His new role and newfound shine as a starter may not last. Randle, who coach Achiuwa said was “no one player to replace,” will once again be the main power forward.

Josh Hart will continue to fly between wing and power forward, pulling minutes at each as needed.

But Achiuwa continued to make the most of his expanded role preferences. He’s no longer just a footnote in a trade.