Thibodeau: “With Precious Achiuwa we have a new dimension”

After an awe-inspiring stretch of play that saw New York go 15-2 from January 1 to February 1, a wave of injuries finally caught up with the Knicks, who lost five of their last six games entering the All-Star break.

With OG Anunoby (elbow), Julius Randle (shoulder), Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) all sidelined and Isaiah Hartenstein missing the last three games with a sore Achilles tendon, the Knicks have relied heavily on Precious Achiuwa and on fourth-year forward /center responded well, writes Peter Botte of the New York Post.

In his last eight games, all starts, the 24-year-old big man has put up 14.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks in 41.6 minutes. Achiuwa has grabbed 19 offensive rebounds in the last two games, Botte noted.

“I mentioned first what Isaiah showed us and then Precious coming in,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after Wednesday’s loss to the Magic. “ Obviously there were things we liked about Achiuwa, that’s why we traded for him. But he showed us a lot. And this has given us more versatility, now we have size at 4. He can play at 4 or 5, he can play it well. … So that’s a big plus for us.”

Achiuwa, who was acquired from Toronto in the deal that sent Anunoby to New York, will be a restricted free agent this summer if the Knicks make him a qualifying offer, which seems very likely based on his performance in recent times.