When Erik Spoelstra was asked a few weeks ago about Precious Achiuwa possibly playing next to Bam Adebayo, he mentioned wanting to “simplify” Achiuwa’s game as much as possible. But is it all that simple?
For starters, the idea over the past few games that he’s getting his minutes cut down is not the whole story. The real reason for that is because Miami beginning to get healthy, means Coach Spoelstra wants Adebayo to be on the floor as much as possible. And every minute he is on the bench, Achiuwa is on the floor.
It seems as if his role though is not as simple as being the Adebayo relief guy. It’s a complicated role for a rookie to play since his minutes come in spurts, without having time to actually get into a rhythm.
This hasn’t seemed to be very problematic, since he adjusted so well for a guy with such little experience. But as seen lately, that extra few minutes of floor time can go a long way in Achiuwa’s short term and long term success.
Taking a look at Achiuwa’s basketball past, in both high school and college, he’s never been in a position to be effective in short spurts, since he’s been a high level starter in his recent past. He has always been in the Adebayo role, where he can just flow with the pace of the game, which is when he truly excels. He’s a high energy guy who can read the pacing of the game perfectly, but it’s a little less useful without fans.
From a coaching perspective, there aren’t many options involving an increased role, other than siding him next to Adebayo. It was seen in a very short spurt before, but as Adebayo continues to expand his range and improve his jumper, that option becomes more and more viable.
The point is that Achiuwa’s current role may be looked at as trying to “simplify,” but for him it may be the complete opposite. There’s a certain trust level with him compared to other guys, since he’s not an out of control young player who doesn’t know his role.
He actually knows his role better than most, but he seems ready to be pushed in the direction of a new role, not to complicate, but for him to thrive.