The Toronto Raptors currently have a 1-4 and sit 13th in the East right now, only ahead of the Pistons and Wizards.
It is fair to say that the Toronto Raptors‘ frustrating first week was by no means a fluke, and was instead a preview of the challenges that lie ahead. The Raptors follow their winless week with a 1-2 week. Their only win coming against the Knicks; a victory that still wasn’t convincing from the Raptors.
Their two losses were against tougher opponents in the 76ers and Pelicans. Two games where the Raptors were just minutes away from winning. The Raptors had the lead late against the 76ers, leading 87-82 with 5:38 left in 4th; and against the Pelicans, where they were leading 113-111 with 1:08 left in the game.
It easily could’ve been a 3-0 week and this article would be titled “Five things right with the Toronto Raptors.” But that isn’t the case, and we are left twiddling our thumbs for what’s to come next.
The only right – Chris Boucher is shining in a dire situation
The bench has been one of the Raptors’ biggest weaknesses, but one player who hasn’t disappointed us in that department is the stellar play of Chris Boucher. Questions were raised when he signed his $13.5 million contract in November, but he has more than proven himself in the first five games of the season so far.
Of all lineups with at least 15 possessions played, the only positive lineups per 100 possessions played are the ones with Boucher. In 99 minutes of play when Boucher is on, the Raptors score 13.2 more points and allow 5.7 fewer points (per 100 possessions), per Cleaning The Glass. That adds up to a plus 18.9 difference and the second-highest only to Kyle Lowry.
There’s a lot of reasons he has been such a net positive for the team. Boucher is an elite rim protector (opposing teams shoot 15.1 percent worse around the rim when Boucher is on), an average three-point shooter, a versatile defender, not afraid to draw contact to go the free-throw line, and a great roller off the pick and roll.
Here is Chris Boucher‘s per game stats in all games except the Philly one (he only played 5 minutes in that game): 16.75 points, 7.25 rebounds, 2.75 blocks, 58.14 FG%, 38.46 3P %
He also had himself a performance against the Spurs you only see once in a blue moon. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 threes, and 7 blocks.
There’s will always be some areas where Boucher can improve — he still gets in foul trouble frequently and he can be a better finisher around the rim — but those are things that he will hopefully improve on throughout the season. If Chris Boucher continues his good play and Baynes still plays at the same level he is now, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Boucher becoming a starter.