The Toronto Raptors might not have as much star power as some other playoff teams in the Eastern Conference, but this motley crew continues to win games against the best in the business on the back of a balanced lineup. After starting to emerge last year, power forward Chris Boucher is blossoming into a star.
The best player on Toronto’s bench, Boucher is averaging 13.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while his 2.1 blocks per contest ranked fourth in the NBA. Once a Raptors 905 standout, Boucher is starting to become one of the best reserve players at any position in the league.
Stats like TPA prove how far Boucher has come since joining up with the Raptors a few seasons ago, as the native Canadian is putting up numbers that rival some of the truly elite fourth-year players in the NBA. In terms of his efficiency, he is putting up numbers that rival All-Stars and future Hall of Famers.
Boucher’s PER currently stands at 23.19, putting him first among all Raptors and 22nd in the entire NBA. That number is just below stars like Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler, and ranks much higher than elite players like Jaylen Brown, Trae Young, and Julius Randle. Not bad for a skinny, undrafted kid.
The advanced numbers make Raptors star Chris Boucher look more impressive
Boucher’s numbers are impressive, but they’re not as amazing as they could be due to the fact that he only plays 23 minutes per game. His per 36 minute averages show that he would is on pace for 20.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game. those numbers would put him right in the thick of the All-Star conversation.
Boucher might be one of the best shot-blockers in the league, but his poor run of form in the middle of the season was due to the fact that he was playing a lot of center off of the bench. With a new smaller lineup putting Aron Baynes on the bench, Boucher could get back to dominating on both ends of the floor in his natural position.
Boucher is a truly unique figure in the league. How many other players can claim to be one of the ebst interior defenders in basketball while shooting 52% from the field and 43% from deep?
The Raptors clearly realize that Boucher can be a valuable commodity off of the bench, but it seems at times that Nick Nurse is unaware of just how good Boucher can be. If he keeps this up, he could end the season with a Sixth Man of the Year award in his trophy case.