Now that the Toronto Raptors are officially eliminated from the playoffs, it’s now time for the team to focus on the 2021-22 season. One of their things that the Raptors should focus on is the growth of Chris Boucher.
Boucher is making $7 million next season, but his contract is non-guaranteed in the summer. Luckily, the Raptors would be a bunch of absolute cretins if they decided not to pick up this deal, so he will be back next season.
Boucher has evolved from a rail-thin forward that could block some shots into one of the game’s premier reserves, making him one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a generally painful season for the Raptors.
Boucher, who has said in his exit interviews that he wants to improve his patience and basketball IQ on the defensive end next season, has some flaws that need to be ironed out, but he also has a bushel of talent that finally started to bloom last season. The Raptors might be in for another huge improvement when looking at Boucher’s raw stats if he is nurtured properly.
How will Chris Boucher perform with the Toronto Raptors next season?
He will still come off the bench since the starting power forward position belongs to Pascal Siakam. Even if they re-sign Kyle Lowry and Gary Trent Jr., they can still get at least a decent big to play center. Perhaps Khem Birch comes back at a discounted price?
Boucher could average around 16 points and nine rebounds per game. His game should be better next season if they get a good center because Boucher just has to worry about his offense whereas the center will handle the defense.
Improving at center, or simply not forcing Boucher into the small ball five role he struggled with last season, helps Boucher’s game because it covers Boucher’s weakness while showing more of his strengths.
Boucher can’t handle a center because he’s 6-9, 200 pounds. The Raptors need to continue to develop him at the power forward spot, and the only way he could reach those lofty scoring numbers is to continue improving in his newly-formed role off of the bench.
Another aspect of his game that he should improve on is taking more shots. He attempted 9.3 shots per game this season. Boucher needs to improve that to 15 shots per game. It will show that he’s not afraid to take an important shot that changes the game’s result.
Could Chris Boucher win an award next season?
Being a Sixth Man of the Year candidate next season is a reasonable expectation for Boucher. He got some mentions for the award this year, but he won’t be a finalist because there are better players who deserve the award more than Boucher like Jordan Clarkson and Montrezl Harrell. However, he should be one of the names for next year.
The chances of Boucher getting a Most Valuable Player award, an All-Star, or an All-NBA nod is unlikely, but they are still definitely possibilities, and making sure he remains on the bench and ready to eviscerate second-units should help him realize those goals.
So, as long as the Raptors can get a big to fill the void in that spot, it will help his success on both ends. It also helps that he’s a free agent in 2022 because it motivates him to play better so he can earn more money than what he’s getting right now.