Toronto Raptors: Why Chris Boucher should have a bigger role this season and beyond

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 02: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors drives against Nicolo Melli #20 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 02: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors drives against Nicolo Melli #20 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Chris Boucher is averaging 14.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 0.9 assists per game so far this season for the Toronto Raptors.

The Toronto Raptors are disappointing so far this season. But one of the bright spots of this season is the emergence of Chris Boucher.

The expectation for him was to be a key play for the Raptors especially when Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol left the team. So far, he has proved to his haters that he is worth the two-year $13.5 million contract that he got in the offseason. In fact, if he keeps on improving his numbers this year, he might be worth more than that contract.

This is a make-or-break year for Chris Boucher because if he did not show anything, the Raptors would’ve declined his team option on the second year of his deal. Boucher, for the most part, has filled the void that used to be.

On the offensive side of his game, Boucher doubled his scoring average from last year. During the 2019-20 season, he averaged 6.6 ppg with .47 percent of his shot going in. This season, his field goal percentage is currently .578 percent. He’s posting up more and getting to the basket more. Boucher has also gotten more confident in taking more threes this year as well as making them. He’s also making more putback baskets and more second-chance points.

Besides getting in foul trouble in four of the first 10 games of the season, he improved his game on the defensive side. He’s getting more rebounds this season than his 4.5 RPG from last season. He also made some key defensive plays like when this play here where prevents the basket twice.

How Boucher plays the game of basketball is different than when he first entered the NBA. When he first entered the league, he was known as a shot blocker. Now he improved his game so much that he’s more than that.

He still blocks shots. In fact, that might be one of the most impressive skills of his game. He’s averaging 2.6 blocks per game. Boucher is currently third in the league in blocks per game. He also broke his career-high in that department with seven blocks against the Spurs.

Why Boucher should get more minutes with the Toronto Raptors this season?

Toronto Raptors-Chris Boucher (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors-Chris Boucher (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

Boucher is getting all of those stats with fewer minutes than the average starter. Right now, he is averaging 22.2 minutes per game. If his minutes’ average went up to around 25-30 minutes, his stats will be more than it is right now.

During the Golden State Warriors game where he played only 23:49 minutes on Jan. 10, he had 15 points, six rebounds, zero assists, and six blocks. Boucher also had six fouls in the game. He fouled out during the final few minutes of the game. If he didn’t foul out, he could’ve easily have been a difference-maker at the end of the game the Toronto Raptors should have won. This is why going forward, he needs to be in a bigger role, not just for this year, but for years to come depending on however long he stays with the Raptors.

Boucher should be in the starting line up as the starting center even though he’s technically a power forward and getting around 25-32 minutes per game.  The center position is flawed for the Raptors. Aron Baynes has been very disappointing for the team right now. Alex Len has not been great either.

Although he’s six foot nine, he can still do the things that a typical center does and more. He hasn’t fully filled the role that used to be Ibaka and Gasol because they were the anchors on the defensive end. Both players set the defense. That was one of the reasons the Toronto Raptors were so successful last season. Boucher is just isn’t ready yet, but he can do the other things on the defensive end.

The bench might get worse because he would be moving to the starting line up and right now Boucher is the only one who’s playing really well while the rest of the players on the bench sometimes play well, other times play not as well. If Norm Powell can consistently play well like he did last season, the bench might be okay.

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Unless the Toronto Raptors can get a big man before the trade deadline, Boucher should be the starting center because he’s playing well and can improve with more minutes. He’s just too much of a difference-maker. We saw the difference when he is playing compared to when he’s not playing, plus the Raptors desperately need to do something right now. So why not try to see how Chris Boucher is as a center?