'It was slippery, I fell myself a few times.': Precious Achiuwa on in-season tournament court

Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa discusses his game vs. the Celtics, guarding Jayson Tatum and the in-season tournament court being slippery.

Video Transcript


Precious, tonight was the first night this year you got some significant run with Jakob. What does being in that role allow you, you know not as, like, the center allow you to do? And-- And how do you think it went?

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA: I mean, it's just, out there, like, you know, continuing to trust the coaching staff and what they want us to do. You know, I think, when I was out there, it was a good-- we had a good defensive run, just the suitability, size, and all that kind of stuff, you know, mobility. And I think that was kind of, like, the idea.

I don't know, you know. But I think my ability to guard multiple positions was the reason. And like I said, just continuing to trust it and-- and learning him and him, understanding us as well, as we're continuing to play.

- I think there was like one possession down the stretch where you got kind of a one on one with-- with Holliday, kinda at the top of the key where you were able to force a tough-- tough look for him.


- And so what's your mindset when you're kind of on an island against, you know, a pretty good guard at that stage of a game?

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA: I mean, players like that, you just-- and as a defender, you kinda, like, learn to-- you learn tendencies of, you know, players, especially for someone like myself. I kinda-- I understand when I'm in the game, there's a lot of switching that's going on. So I have to learn tendencies of multiple players.

And I understand that he likes to go left. So I knew he was gonna try to go left. So I was anticipating that. He did try to go left, cut him off. He tried to spin back right, cut him off. And he took a contested shot. If he makes it, you just gotta live with it. You know, you did your job. It's a really tough shot for anyone to make. Yeah.


--sounded like some of the Celtics players weren't happy with the floor and said it was slippery. Is that something that you noticed at all? And how did you feel about playing on it, just in terms of the color and all that that takes some getting used to?

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA: It was slippery. I mean, I felt myself a few times. A few, a couple times, I ended up on the floor. I slipped a few times. Yeah, I mean, you could see, they saying the same thing even at the end of the game. And guys, I think somebody probably got hurt on the other side.

Yeah. It's just, I don't know. I mean, I think I'm fine with the color. I don't really-- I just wanna play basketball. You know, the extra stuff is just, you know, extra. You know, I'm just-- I just wanna play basketball. But at the same time, I'm not trying to get hurt. you know, especially for a guy like myself, missed the majority part of the season. You know, coming back, I'm, like, extra cautious. Ending up on the floor is kinda like, OK, I'm checking myself. I'm trying to make sure everything is intact, you know. But, yeah, like, at the end of the day, I just wanna hoop. You know, I don't really-- the extra stuff is extra. You know, yeah.

- On that, Derrick White, 3, Gary goes to double from the baseline. And you and Pascal are effectively zoning out Tatum, Brown, and Derrick White. As far as, like, Brown comes in, collapses [INAUDIBLE] of the zone. When you two are there, how do you solve that, like, zoning up those three guys? And then, obviously, that corner was open. Like, if you could go back and put the chess pieces in the right place, what are you trying to take away?

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA: I mean, I would say make him finish at the basket. I mean, like, at the end of the day, it already happened. You know, we just gotta go watch film, learn from it, see what we could do better, and move forward. You know? There's nothing we could go back and change. It already happened.

But maybe looking back, say let him finish over myself-- over his primary defender, and either myself and Pascal. Because Brown had cut to the basket. I remember cause Jayson Tatum was at the top, Brown is in the middle, Derrick is in the corner. He had cut, I'm at the top guarding Jason. Pascal cut with him.

And then, yeah. So it was just kind of, like, just trying to just learn from it. It's nothing we could do right now. Just go back, watch film, talk about it, you know. And we'll figure it out.

- [INAUDIBLE] obviously had a really successful start to the season. What do you think is driving that success? What are you seeing from him?

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA: He's well. I mean, he put in a lot of work. You know, stuff like that don't just happen overnight, You know? Putting a lot of work over the summer time obviously is showing. And us as his teammates, we're trusting him. You know, he's had games where he literally drove us to win.

You know, you look at the San Antonio game. You look at the-- the Wizards game. You know, there's a lot of games like that this season. so far where, you know, he just impose his will. And, you know, literally just helped us win the game, literally won us the game. So it was just trust on both sides. You know, and of course his work. You know, he put in a lot of work. So.

- Speaking of trust, Darko's obviously made a big point of emphasis to get to know guys, to develop relationships with guys. What does that do for you as a player on the court? And how does that help?

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA: I mean, it's good. It's very important, just having that relationship between your coach. And I think it goes a long way, just if you have a certain type of relationship, develop relations, comfortability, and trust. You [INAUDIBLE] you could run through a wall for someone that you trust. You know, and that's kind of the culture that we're trying to build here, I believe that he's trying to build. Once you develop trust from people, they could do anything for you, you know, run through a wall, play their hearts out every night. And I--