a good longish read on Boucher’s start with 905. Really excited about what this guy could turn into. Wonderful shooting. Swats at the rim. And this team has been playing at a scorching pace. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets to see any NBA action this season.



Mahlalela is in daily discussion with the Raptors front office and coaches, and as much as the positional change has helped Boucher maximize his abilities at the G League level, there is little concern when it comes to where, exactly, Boucher will fit on an NBA court. 

“The exciting part is that, as Nick [Nurse] is grooming that team and I’m doing the same here, is that we’re developing basketball players,” Mahlalela says. “Will he be an NBA four or five? To me, it’s irrelevant. He’s a player with a really interesting and compelling skill set, and when he does the tough things — getting that extra offensive rebound, showing that second-effort blocking a shot and getting back into the play — then it won’t matter [where he plays]. That sense of positional basketball is really starting to come true now.”

Boucher is a prime example. With his speed and ability to space the floor, he’s beginning to impact the game and tailor his skill set based on who he’s sharing the court with. The Raptors 905 roster is rich with fluid athletes who can shoot — the team hit 19 three-pointers on Tuesday, led by Malachi Richardson’s eight makes — and it opens up the potential for Boucher and his teammates. “If he’s with other players who can shoot and move it creates a five-headed monster,” says Mahlalela.

But the biggest difference in Boucher isn’t where or how he’s being utilized, but instead a growing understanding of his situation, talents and responsibilities.

“There’s a sense of him maturing into a professional basketball player,” Mahlalela says of the differences he’s seen in Boucher over the past six months. “He came to the table with a sense of entitlement that hadn’t been earned. ‘I’m a two-way player and I played for Golden State.’ And I think he was quickly humbled of that.”

“He’s such a new basketball player, and before he got to us he wasn’t quite sure how to navigate that.” Time spent this off-season at famed long-time NBA assistant coach Tim Grgurich’s basketball camp in Philadelphia has helped. Sharing the court with top first, second and third-year players from around the NBA, he showed up with purpose — “He got there early, stayed late, and was one of the hardest working players at the camp” — and excelled among the bigger names around him.

Much like Siakam dominating scrimmages against NBA all-stars in Los Angeles this past summer, Bouchard began to realize his potential. “That gave him the confidence to say ‘I can do this at the professional level,’” says Mahlalela, who admits he’s surprised to see how quickly Bouchard has also developed into a vocal leader with the Raptors 905.

Five games is a small sample size, but nothing about Bouchard’s hot start to the season suggests his performance is a fluke.

“To me, it’s a maturity,” the head coach says. “He’s shown this ability to own the moment.”

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Another interesting piece that addresses his lack of overall size and how they are working to not get dominated on the boards. Gotta say that Mahlalela has come across as supremely competent so far.



Terrence Jones is by far the most accomplished player the 905 have seen yet this season. His talent in the NBA has never been a question; he’s dropped 30 points or more on four separate occasions in the NBA. Jones also has 40 pounds on both Boucher or Adel. It seemed like he might present a problem.


“We’ll start Deng on him,” said coach Jama Mahlalela before the game. “It will be a great learning game for Deng, to figure out a player who’s as crafty as Jones is, his ability to shot-fake, get into the paint, use his left hand. It will be a real challenge for Deng to try to figure him out. We’re going to put a lot of people on him, though, tonight. Chris will get a chance on him tonight, and we may even go a little bit bigger as well, and see if some size can deter him. But he’s a real problem.”


Adel and Boucher had no problem dominating Jones. In only four Jones post-ups against the two, one ended in a Jones basket and two in missed shots. His drives were similarly haphazard, and he finished 4-for-14 from the field. Both Adel and Boucher got low against Jones, forcing tough misses over outstretched arms. On the other end, he couldn’t run with either in transition or keep up with them all way out to the 3-point line.


Boucher multiple times blocked Jones on one end before sprinting the court and dunking in transition.

By the time the dust had settled on the 905’s 145-103 massacre, Jones had the worst plus-minus on his team (-39), and Adel (+43) and Boucher (+40) had the best plus-minuses for the 905. It was clear who won the matchup.


After the game, Mahlalela credited his bigs’ smarts instead of their brawn: “Our guys figured out the scouting report and did a good job. They followed it.”


“Yeah, he’s [got] 40 pounds on me,” said Adel, agreeing. “You know, he likes to go left and he loves to shot-fake, so it’s more of a scouting thing, and then once he gets a body into me, it’s trying to hold my ground, not foul him, and try to be as vertical as I can. He missed a couple layups, but he’s a great player and it was a good challenge for me.”


Significantly, the 905 only gave up five offensive rebounds to the BayHawks. Boucher and Adel held their own on the glass, combining for 15 defensive rebounds. They found the right bodies whenever shots went up, and importantly, Boucher didn’t have to shy away from blocking shots. He finished with six in the game, bringing his season average to an unprecedented 4.4 blocks per game. It would seem (incorrectly) like those blocks would keep Boucher off his own defensive glass, but a small tactical change allowed Boucher to have a runway towards missed shots.


“We’ve been adjusting our position on him with pick and roll,” said Mahlalela “Earlier we had him on more of a drop. And [now] we have him a little bit higher which allows him to gauge the guy coming towards him a little bit more. So a small little adjustment in terms of his stance and positioning. But a lot of it’s effort. We want to be the hardest working team, and he worked hard to play that dance of when he retreats and when he shot blocks. He did a great job today.”


Consider Jones just one stepping stone on the path to Boucher’s (and to a lesser extent, Adel’s) G-League greatness. The two combined for 4 made triples, which stretched Erie’s defence past its breaking point. Opponents’ size has been an issue for the talented 905 frontcourt, but Tuesday night in Mississauga proved that it doesn’t have to be. Boucher is supremely talented, yet he has work yet to do to understand the game fully. The G-League is the right place for him to learn. However, if he can thrash opponents like Jones, before long there won’t be much even in the NBA that can stop him.

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being a big footy(soccer) fan as well, i'm loving what the raptors are doing with the 905. by acquiring rights to certain players and teaching them the system as well as working on their skills they have very much turned it into a farm system/academy and are 'homegrowing' players much like european football teams. it has me legitimately interested in keeping up with the 905 and looking forward to the next influx of players we might see on the team, much like i do with arsenal's b team. 
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Two weeks ago, Ridiculous Upside posted a piece about how Raptors two-way player Chris Boucher was playing basketball in the G League with the Raptors 905. At the time of that post, the 6’10 prospect was averaging 27.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.5 steals and 4.3 blocks on 50% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc on 7.5 attempts per game. 

Since that piece, Boucher has somehow found a way to pick his game up a few more notches. In his last three games, the 6’10 forward has been on an absolute tear by putting up 30+ points and 12+ rebounds in three consecutive games. The headline of that was a November 24th outing against the Greensboro Swarm where he had 37 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks on 12-24 from the field, 3-10 from beyond the arc and 10-12 from from the free throw line.


Following that jaw-dropping stretch, Boucher entered the month of November averaging 29.3 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game on 52% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc on 7.1 attempts per game. With those numbers, BOucher currently leads the league in both points and blocks while placing fifth in rebounds per game. In that final category, he trails Angel Delgado, Alan Williams, Alize Johnson and Tyler Davis. 

Boucher’s fantastic production has allowed the 905 to be a completely different team when he’s playing compared to when he’s on the sidelines or with the big league club. That status is exemplified by the fact that the 905 are 27 points (!!) per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court (118.8 points per 100) compared to when he’s on the sidelines (91.7 points per 100). 

Due to the combination of his incredible two-way production and the fantastic impact that he has on the Raptors 905, Ridiculous Upside is proud to name Chris Boucher as their NBA G League Player of the Month for November.

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He looks like half Keon Clark/ half Greek Freak out there.
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I really hope Boucher adds strength and a bit of weight this summer and can contribute a little more next season. The talent is there
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We may be over enthused about his prospects. Past MVP's haven't amounted to much. Out of the 18 award winners roughly 4 had some success getting about 15mpg. Most didn't get played in more then a handful of games.





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Jakkal wrote:

We may be over enthused about his prospects. Past MVP's haven't amounted to much. Out of the 18 award winners roughly 4 had some success getting about 15mpg. Most didn't get played in more then a handful of games.





Yeah, but he is already more than a G-league guy. He’s been a two-way player for two organizations. He’s shown promise in NBA minutes. Still pretty raw, but he has a chance to be another guy that can get 15mpg or maybe better. He’s got real good attributes that I find more exciting than what these awards might represent.
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The question with Boucher’s development, then, becomes how they turn the very real growth he showed this year into NBA utility next year. That is not as obvious as assuming linear progression from here, or that the best player in the G League must by default be capable of contributing in the NBA.

Boucher is a unique study given his size, timeline and the fact that his position may need to change to make the next step. Some see Boucher’s ceiling as capped because he has the game of a centre and is the size of a power forward; others see that as an opportunity in an evolving NBA where traditional positions seem to mean less by the day. Raptors 905 played him primarily as a centre this year before getting him more power forward reps later in the year to expand his game and make him more versatile down the line.

“Well, the biggest thing is, for me, you’re just not quite sure what he’s gonna do or what he’s gonna look like or whatever in an NBA game,” Nurse said. “He’s a centre down there, for sure, he’s a definite rolling, shot-blocking, pick-and-pop five. And he just doesn’t look like a centre here. I always get a little bit hesitant to throw him out there against some of these real big physical guys. The one thing you can just say about him is he’s just not afraid. He goes in there and I think he’s leading the league in shots within the shortest amount of time once he checks in. But that’s kind of what he is. He just doesn’t have much fear. That’s good. I’m kinda hoping, I still don’t know where he fits in with us as far as being able to play the five and against big physical guys, so I’m kinda hoping that his next stage development is we figure out how to get him on the floor. He blocks shots and he shoots the three, that’s a pretty good start, right? And he runs, and he’s not afraid even though you might think he’d be a little timid when you just look at him, but he’s not at all. We’ve gotta figure out a way, or I’ve gotta figure out a way, to continue to develop him.”

To that end, Boucher and the Raptors will enter the summer focused on two areas that will help regardless of where he ends up: Looking to add strength and, if possible on his frame, a bit of size, and the type of perimeter-oriented ball-handling work that could make him a more versatile offensive threat. They are not mutually exclusive developments and together would make him a better prospect at either position. More practically, they stand to make him a more fully developed basketball player, and the specifics of his role at either end can be determined by roster composition or lineup or day-to-day need; what would be more important than those specifics is that he’ll have made himself a better option to be plugged in at all.

There’s no certainty he can take those steps, but there’s ample room for optimism. Boucher’s development has been rapid within the constraints of the path he’s taken and they’ve accelerated dramatically in the Raptors’ incubator.

“It’s crazy,” Loyd said. “The first time I played with him was Summer League and seeing that same kid from Summer League and seeing him now is like night and day, man. He’s grown mentally, he’s still working on his body, and his game has just evolved. I’m happy for him.”

In the summer, Boucher was getting waived by the Warriors because he wasn’t NBA-ready enough, being made the last cut by Canada because he was a little behind picking up schemes, heading to Summer League without a contract and entering training camp to fight for a spot. This summer, he’ll be looking to better fit and expand his role in the NBA rather than wondering whether he belongs at all.

In between, he turned in an all-time G League season, solidifying his near-term NBA future. He may have only played four minutes Monday, but walking out with an award boxed under each arm to send home to Montreal with his mother makes for a great chapter in a truly incredible story. If he’s made it this far through such unlikely odds, he’s certainly not going to lose that trademark confidence as he looks to take the next step.

“I need a lot of dedication. You got ups and downs. If you want to be successful, you have to have that,” he said. “If you have a lot of dedication and you believe in yourself, you’ve got a chance to make it.”

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Best and worst case scenario for Toronto Raptors big man Chris Boucher in the 2019-20 NBA season

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Someguy again
Chris block quebecois trey-boucher
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Sometimes it can be a bit obnoxious to watch somebody admire their own work. It can also verge on a sweet experience.

After the Raptors’ loss to the Clippers on Monday, the second game of a heartening back-to-back all-Staples Center set, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne wanted to make sure Chris Boucher could appreciate what he did a few minutes earlier in front of thousands of fans. She pulled up the clip of Boucher’s two-handed block on the Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, more akin to a stuff of a spike at the net in volleyball than something that takes place regularly on the basketball court. Boucher had just wrapped up his scrum with the media — back-to-back media sessions are new for Boucher, too — and observed his play.

“That’s nice,” said Boucher, his smile slowly growing. “That’s nice.”

It is too bad Boucher could not have watched the moment live, without the aid of a screen, because it looked even better in that setting. Watching it back, you can see that Boucher was merely playing on the other side of the paint, and only needed to take a few steps to get into position to contest Harrell’s attempt.

Deep breaths are required, obviously. The 46 minutes he played in Los Angeles over two nights are by far the biggest NBA sample we have of Boucher, but they are still just 46 minutes. Those minutes had their share of mistakes, too: over-eager defensive help and occasional miscues with the offence’s spacing. He had some positively heroic rebounds in crunch time, but he is overmatched on the glass more often than not.

Going back to the block, though, the best thing about Boucher’s Best Supporting Actor submission in Hollywood was the situation in which it came. The Raptors squandered their five-point lead to start the fourth quarter, and the offence had stalled out. Due to fatigue and injuries to a few of their top offensive options, a six-point deficit in the final three minutes felt like it might as well have been 15. The Raptors were out of gas.

And still, Boucher hustled to make the play, avoiding one more eruption from the crowd in what felt like a procession of them.

“He’s got a little bit of game outside and inside, blocking some shots, pretty good rebounder down there as well and he plays pretty fearlessly,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s been good, really good to see in two games, a guy that’s gonna to probably have to stay in the rotation.”

Serge Ibaka’s sprained ankle necessitates that. Ibaka is out indefinitely, and that leaves a hole behind Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam in the front court.

“I’ve been waiting a long time,” Boucher said. “For me, it’s just trying to get better every time, trying to (block out outside noise) and just focus on the team. These guys have confidence in me. Coach has confidence in me and it helps me a lot. I know what I’m supposed to do, just stay focused on the right things.”

Forget the present, though, and forget projecting well into the future, too. Boucher is a work in process, but he’ll be a 27-year-old work in process in January. A few more games like the two he played in Los Angeles and it will be time to start asking what his role should be on a mostly healthy Raptors team.

Last year’s G-League MVP has some pretty obvious flaws in his game, most of them relating to his slender stature. If the Raptors can help it, he will not be called on to guard many burly post scorers, which is fine — the game is changing. They do need him to be able to stay on the floor, though.

At times in the Staples double feature, Boucher felt irreplaceable on the Raptors’ roster. That says more about the team’s injuries than Boucher himself, but it is more complimentary to the player than you’d think. Boucher wasn’t only valuable as a rim-protector against the two Los Angeles teams, but as a stimulant for the Raptors’ transition opportunities, crucial for a team which figures to be league average as an offence even at its healthiest. Without Ibaka and especially Kyle Lowry, the Raptors need to create transition opportunities, and they need to finish them. Boucher is useful in both of those aspects.

He cannot do that if he is in foul trouble. Boucher picked up three fouls in a little less than 10 minutes in the first half against the Clippers. That is not egregious for an inexperienced player competing in a particularly chaotic game, but Boucher is a big part of providing that chaos, and that is not going to change any time soon — nor should it. Still, much like Pascal Siakam as he adjusts to a new role, Boucher must learn to play within the referees’ confines without sacrificing his trademark level of activity. At least Boucher isn’t waving off the fouls as a natural product of his frenetic style, which wouldn’t even be the most dishonest reasoning.

“I’m gonna go watch the tape, but I think a lot of the fouls could have been avoided. One of them was on a blitz,” Boucher said. “I could have stayed above (his hip). One I tried to pindown for (Terence Davis) and they called an offensive foul. A lot of them were fouls I can avoid. I will learn from it and try to stay out of foul trouble.”

The opportunity will be there for him right now regardless, just because of the injuries. If he can continue to make plays happen on both ends — his willingness to shoot is almost inspiring in a “live your best life” type of way — he could have a role on this team. It might just be as a fourth big or a player who allows the Raptors to use smaller lineups, but that could be good for 10 minutes per night.

His ability to shoot, and particularly his utility on ball traps due to his length, make him a useful piece in today’s game. He was a big part of the Raptors giving Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard trouble with aggressive schemes; those arms are hard to navigate.

The key will be for Boucher to focus on that function. At least there is no questioning his gumption.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve always felt I kind of want to play fearless, no matter who I play,” Boucher said. “Obviously there are a lot of big bodies over there. But this is the NBA. If I want to be in this league, I’m gonna have to play guys like that. I don’t really think about it when I go play. I’m in the NBA. He’s in the NBA. If I’m here, I’m good enough to figure it out, play off of my energy and compensate for some of the other stuff.”

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