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Precious Achiuwa continues to learn from Heat veterans

Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) sets up for a shot in front of Miami Heat forward Precious Achiuwa (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Phelan M. Ebenhack, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MIAMI – The Heat’s top draft pick is making a strong first impression on his team.

The main reason is that the big man out of Memphis has been all ears, listening to the team’s veterans.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra said on Sunday, “That’s one of the reasons that our young players last year were able to grow and gain confidence so quickly. We didn’t put a lot on their plate initially. They could just lean on the experience of the veteran players... The same thing with Precious. Otherwise, if you’re coming in as a young player your head is just going to be swirling with so much information.”

Spoelstra said for now he’s trying to keep it as simple as possible for the rookie and he’ll add more to his plate as the year goes on.

Meyers Leonard said, “His ability to respond is great. He wants to learn. He’s a hard worker. He has great vets around him who have been there/done that and understand how to teach him. So as long as he continues to stay focused and continues to work, which we all know he will, he’ll continue to develop and we’ll all continue to get better because that’s the expectation here and that’s what we all love.”

Achiuwa said, “It’s been really really helpful. I can’t put words to it. If you look around, there’s a lot of years of experience. Just being out there with those guys at the same time, it makes my job so much easier. They see the game from a different different perspective, they make the game a lot slower to for me.”

The rookie said the veterans are helping him make adjustments on the fly because nothing is new to them.

Achiuwa said, “I don’t see anything as doing too much... I’m here to play winning basketball. Whatever it takes to win games, that’s what I’m down to do.”

About the Author:

David Lang is executive producer of the Local 10 sports department.