Chris Boucher ranks among NBA’s most valuable fourth-year players

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The Toronto Raptors have leaned heavily on a pair of fourth-year studs in two-way star OG Anunoby and the always-improving Chris Boucher, who has given the Raptors a feared inside presence off of the bench. While he has been making huge strides this season, there’s no way he can be grouped in the same elite tier as Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum, right?

Well, according to the Total Points Added stat, Boucher is not only in the same tier as Tatum, but his value far exceeds that of budding stars like Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, and John Collins.

Boucher ranks third in the NBA in offensive points added among third-year players, with only Tatum and Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo ahead of him. While TPA has Anunoby slotted as an above-average player on both ends, Boucher’s terrific production on offense has him in a very select category.

Chris Boucher could end up being a part of the Toronto Raptors’ future

The Raptors average 130 points per 100 shot attempts with Boucher in the lineup, which puts Boucher’s numbers in the 83rd percentile among opposing big men in the NBA. On a team that has struggled to find consistent offense, Boucher, who is in the running for Most Improved Player, emerging in this fashion has truly been a blessing for Toronto.

The traditional numbers back up what TPA asserts about Boucher, as he is averaging 13.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game, all the while shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from the behind three-point line. If Boucher ended up getting more playing time, his resurgence could end up getting league-wide recognition it deserves.

As spectacular as Anunoby has been this season, especially on the offensive end, Boucher is on a whole different level, giving a Raptors bench that was ravaged by the free agent market this offseason a legitimate star that Nurse can run the second unit offense through. Boucher, who is scheduled to be a free agent in 2022, could cash in if he keeps playing like this.

Boucher’s meteoric rise stands out as another feather in Nick Nurse’s cap, as his ability to develop players has given the Raptors another star. Boucher went from a G League player to someone that is performing at the same clip as some of the best young stars in the game, all the while replacing two of the best defensive bigs in the game in Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

While Boucher might be in his fourth year in the NBA, he is 28 years old, a sign that he is entering his prime as an athlete. If Nurse takes the training wheels off and unleashes the skinny Canadian on the league, the rest of the basketball landscape will finally see how good he is and how valuable he can be for the Raptors.