Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is never going to shy away from a microphone if he feels like one of his key players is not performing well. After calling out Gary Trent Jr. for his poor defensive effort earlier in the season, Nurse has now turned his anger toward big man Chris Boucher.
After signing a three-year contract in the offseason, Boucher quickly established himself as the team’s most consistent bench player by averaging 11.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his first 27 contests. The last week, however, has been brutal for Boucher.
After playing just 12 minutes in a win against the Knicks, Boucher received the dreaded DNP-CD in Toronto’s game against the Cavaliers. He played just nine minutes against the Clippers and failed to record a shot. Nurse himself hinted that Boucher is on the verge of falling out of the rotation.
With Precious Achiuwa reportedly getting closer to a return, Nurse said that Boucher “needs to play better” in a very direct and pointed statement. Calling out Trent made the young guard step his game up, and Boucher might be in for a similar bump this season.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse called out Chris Boucher.
While Boucher has seen his playing time reduced, Juancho Hernangomez continues to receive starts despite the fact that his poor offensive performance helped kill Toronto’s momentum in a loss against the Clippers. Boucher has a golden opportunity to boot him out of the rotation with better play.
While Boucher is scoring more than he did last year and rebounding at basically the same rate, he is making just 45% of his shots and 27% of his 3-pointers. The former mark is tied for the worst in his entire career, while the latter is the worst figure he’s put up as a professional.
This statement is eerily similar to what Nurse did to Boucher last year, benching him for a game to send a message after a slow start. Boucher managed to rebound and perform so well in a playoff series against the 76ers that he earned a big multi-year contract in the offseason.
The Raptors don’t have much in the way of depth, so Nurse will likely continue to lean on Boucher when the stuff hits the fan. However, Nurse wants to see efficiency and physicality out of his prized G League success story, and quotes like the one he offered yesterday show he is running out of patience.