Raptors in Orlando: Four secret weapons Toronto has for NBA playoffs

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors – Chris Boucher (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

Raptors playoff secret weapons: Chris Boucher

It took quite some time for the undrafted Chris Boucher to find the right opportunity in the league, but it makes sense that it would come in Toronto. Originally from Saint Lucia, Boucher has ties to Canada because he moved to Montreal when he was five, and lived in the country until he went to college at Oregon.

Extremely raw coming out of college, Boucher wasn’t selected in the draft and played just one game in his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors while on a two-way contract and 28 games with the Raptors in his sophomore season.

The Raptors in 2019 converted his two-way contract into a standard deal after an impressive G League season in which Ridiculous Upside named him their Defensive Player of the Year.

While the Raptors deserve credit for their development with Boucher and with all young talent, his match with the Raptors seems to be perfect.

In a defensively-cognizant system, Boucher has the room to flex his lock-down chops and grow into a stronger offensive game on the fly.

Boucher doesn’t play much, just 13.2 minutes per game, so the scouting report on him will be thin for opposing teams. While it’s in part due to small sample size, Boucher is second on the team in win shares per 48 minutes this season.

He can fill in as a situational defender for the Raptors while starters get rest or alongside starters if there’s a particular assignment Nick Nurse wants to hunt.

Many other teams might be wary to play an “unproven” player in a playoff setting, but of course, Nurse is willing to take risks.

It’s possible that the league supplements home-court advantage with an additional foul for a particular player, and Nurse could even attach that to Boucher if he wants to get real risky while inflating his potential reward. Boucher has the third-higher fouls per 36 minutes on the team, so an additional foul would allow Nurse to accept the idea of playing him for more minutes. That’s more likely to get sent to Pascal Siakam if it is instituted, though.

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