The Toronto Raptors are hurdling out of control towards one of the worst records in the league, even despite Chris Boucher and his emergence as one of the best bench players in the NBA irrespective of position. The Raptors might not win a ton of awards this year, but Boucher’s charge for Sixth Man of the Year still has some validity behind it.
Despite all of the turnover on both the roster and coaching staff around him, Boucher has continued to improve, averaging 13.4 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per contest while blocking just under two shots every night. On one of the worst benches in the league, Boucher has managed to not only find a home, but thrive.
While the odds-on favorite for this award appears to be Utah Jazz swingman Jordan Clarkson, a case that is helepd by Utah’s record this season. While Clarkson has put together a fine season, advanced metrics are kinder to Boucher.
Kevin Pelton’s Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP), which measures how many wins someone like Boucher has added to his team as comared to an average player, claims that the Canadian native has the second-highest total among all reserves at 4.67, trailing only Joe Ingles while coming in ahead of Clarkson, Tyrese Haliburton and Robert Williams.
Toronto Raptors stud Chris Boucher could win Sixth Man of the Year
Boucher is a bit of an odd fit on this roster, as he is frequently playing the power forward and center positions due to the lack of depth despite how his game is more suited to being around the perimeter.
Boucher often comes into the game at the same time as some complete non-scorers like Stanley Johnson or struggling rookie Malachi Flynn. With the defense often locking in on him, he’s still been able to effect the game in a major way on both sides of the ball.
The Raptors have won just one time in the entire month of March, going from a team that was fourth in the conference at one point to a cellar-dweller that is looking at the No. 1 pick. Heaven knows what would happen if Boucher wasn’t in this rotation.
As it stands right now, it mught be hard to convince the media that a member of one of the worst benches in the league on a team that is going nowhere fast should be in line for an individual award.
Still, if the voters look past the box score numbers and look at Boucher’s value to the Raptors when compared to players like Clarkson or Ingles that are parts of one of the deepest teams in the league, there is a chance that Boucher ends up as the premier reserve in the game.