The Toronto Raptors were expecting big things from Chris Boucher this season given his tremendous 2020-21 season. Rather than continuing to hone his skills, Boucher has taken a massive step back, as his shooting percentages and defensive ability have gone right down the tubes.
Boucher went from averaging 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game to 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per contest. He is making just 37% of his shots and 18% of his 3-point attempts in what has been a startling regression. Nick Nurse appears to have had enough, as he has seen his minutes reduced.
Boucher went from playing 24 minutes a night to just over 13 in 2021-22. Throughout the last five games, four of which have been losses, Boucher has played over 12 minutes just once. When Precious Achiuwa returns to full health, one has to wonder if Boucher has done enough to warrant more rotation time.
Boucher has plenty of potential in a very thin Raptors frontcourt, but it’s hard to look at his play this season and come away with a ton of positives. Should Nurse consider sitting Boucher down on the bench after a very rough stretch of games?
Chris Boucher is not getting it done for the Toronto Raptors.
Boucher and Achiuwa have both been extremely disappointing on the offensive end, and the Raptors can’t afford to put two offensively deficient players in the lineup at the same time. Outside of one standout game against Philadelphia, Boucher has just one other game (the 32-point blowout against Boston) with more than 10 points.
Even in that game, he shot 4-12 from the field in 20 minutes.
While Boucher supporters take solace in the fact that he can shoot from 3-point range and use his athleticism to drive to the basket, he is a much less lethal player when he’s not hitting his jumpers. Too frail to stick down in the low post, Boucher has looked out of sorts on offense.
Which Toronto Raptors players will replace Chris Boucher?
As the Raptors showed during their loss against Portland, they don’t have a ton of players that are ready to step up and replace him. The biggest issue for the Raptors is the frontcourt, specifically their interior defense. Subtracting Boucher from the equation may still harm the interior defense.
Achiuwa still seems a bit raw on offense, Khem Birch doesn’t have much offensive potential or versatility, and Justin Champagnie needs more time in the G League.
Likewise, if the Raptors want to move Boucher to get draft assets, is taking him out of the rotation going to be the best plan of attack? His value is already not skyrocketing, and getting benched like Goran Dragic will make a move even harder.
The Boucher riddle has no easy answers if he keeps playing like this, but he can shut all this noise up by returning to the player we all know and love.