Chris Boucher makes case for Raptors not to trade him in Bulls win

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 03: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 03: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors figure to be a very active team at the trade deadline with the main goal being reinforcing a starting lineup led by All-Star Fred VanVleet with some nice bench pieces. To further that end, high-energy big man Chris Boucher has frequently been mentioned as a potential trade asset.

Boucher came into Thursday night’s clash with the Chicago Bulls averaging 8.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. After a very slow start, Boucher has bounced back to the point where any number of contenders might be interested in bringing his style of play to their city.

However, Boucher still has a job to pull off with the Raptors, and he’s trying everything he can to emerge as the team’s Sixth Man in the same way he did last year. Based on what he did against Chicago, it looks like Boucher could have a very important role to play with this team.

In 25 minutes, Boucher recorded 16 points on 8-14 shooting while finishing with 10 rebounds and a team-high +15 in the plus-minus category. This was one of Boucher’s best games of the season, and it could be taken as a sign to the front office that he’s too good to flippantly include in a deadline deal.

127. 81. Final/OT. 120. 24

Chris Boucher could be an impact player for the Toronto Raptors.

On top of the fact that Boucher broke out of the trance he was in on offense, his defensive feel for the game is much better than it was early in the season. No longer is he randomly jumping out on perimeter players and leaving the paint wide open!

Though three of the Raptors’ four main rotation players play center in Boucher, Precious Achiuwa, and Khem Birch, No. 25 looks like the most consistent of the three. Given Achiuwa’s finishing issues and Birch’s poor offensive versatility, Boucher has quickly become vital to Toronto’s style of attack.

Boucher is a free agent at the end of this season, so the idea of acquiring a potential backup shooting guard out of a trade could help the team get something of value in exchange for a player who could end up leaving the team in the offseason anyway.

That may have been the plan going into the deadline, but Boucher’s game against Nikola Vucevic and a Bulls team that is eyeing a very deep postseason run should open some eyes in that front office. Sure, you could trade Boucher away, but doing so would hollow out the frontcourt and deprive Toronto of an excellent backup big.

Fixing the bench should be the top priority for Masai Ujiri at the deadline, but there are more ways to improve this bench besides trading Boucher. If he keeps playing at a level even approximating what he did against the Bulls, Toronto might have a nice playoff run in the future.

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