Raptors news: Chris Boucher benching explained, Nick Nurse talks Raps fans

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 05: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 05: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors sent ten players to the floor in their season-opening win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, as everyone from Scottie Barnes to rookie Gradey Dick chimed in during Darko Rajakovic’s first win as an NBA coach. One name absent from that roll call was Chris Boucher.

Despite Boucher’s past history with the Raptors as a clearly defined role player who can bring energy off the bench, Rajakovic chose to unleash Precious Achiuwa and Jalen McDaniels while keeping the veteran power forward rooted to the bench in this one.

Rajakovic may not have let Boucher get on the floor, but this might sound more like a stylistic decision for one or two games than an overarching, sweeping indictment of his ability. Darko said that Boucher is likely to see the field relatively soon.

“I met with him. I talked with him, and I told him what I expect to happen in the next days, the next weeks. And how he needs to stay ready,” Rajakovic said. “Chris is a very important player for us… They’re still learning, I’m still learning, and you will be seeing Chris over the course of the year for sure.”

More Raptors news

  • Dennis Schroder became the first Raptors player since Kawhi Leonard to top 20 points in his debut with the team, but he was quick to shut down comparisons between him and the future Hall of Famer. Quite the media-savvy answer, Dennis.
  • 76ers coach Nick Nurse perfectly showed the differences between Toronto and Philadelphia fans. “When a Toronto fan would see me in the airport, kinda say, ‘Hey coach’ [slight wave], and a Philly fan would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, are you going to do this, this and this?’ I mean they were coaching me,” Nurse said.

NBA news

  • A pair of coaches from last year’s Raptors made their debuts with their brand new teams, as Philadelphia’s Nick Nurse and Milwaukee’s Adrian Griffin locked horns. The protege outdid the master in this one, as Griffin leaned on Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo in a 118-117 win.
  • James Harden’s absence from the 76ers has been so awkward the league is getting involved with a formal investigation. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA is trying to “determine whether an approved reason exists for his lack of participation.” In other words, is Harden just refusing to play?

Will Boucher get back on the floor relatively soon for the Raptors?