Toronto Raptors: Chris Boucher continues to thrive in spotlight

Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

With the Toronto Raptors missing most of their starters and getting into some trouble for violating the league’s “rest and injury policy,” what Chris Boucher is doing right now shouldn’t be overlooked.

The big storyline heading into Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was the fact that there were three players from Montreal getting onto the court in Boucher, Khem Birch and Luguentz Dort. In the end, it was Boucher who rose to the occasion with a career-high 31 points built on six three-pointers and 11 rebounds showing off his improved play since the move to power forward.

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This is a significant moment for Canadian basketball fans considering the Olympics aren’t too far off and these players are trying to showcase themselves for playing time. It also helps that Canada’s coach, Nick Nurse, had a front-row seat to the action.

For the last month, there has been a lot of chatter about the Raptors’ outlook for the remainder of the season. At this rate, making the playoffs isn’t going to do much for this team going forward considering getting a better draft pick would serve this team better.

At the same time, it’s becoming clearer that the Raptors’ ability to drop in the standings isn’t foolproof considering there are teams significantly worse. Unfortunately in the NBA, the number of teams that are more interested in tanking is overwhelmingly higher than those trying to compete.

The Raptors find themselves in the position most teams generally don’t like to find themselves. They’re too good to be in complete tank mode but not good enough to be a perennial playoff contender.

At this rate, there seems to be more value for the team to just let Boucher, Gary Trent Jr., Malachi Flynn and Yuta Watanabe show what they can do. However, this team also has to find a way out of no man’s land.

It’s no secret that talent wins out in the NBA and the only way teams get it is through drafting, trading for an established star that is looking for a new team or somehow landing one in free agency. Unfortunately with star players staying with their teams for a supermax contract, guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo aren’t reaching free agency.

This is the challenge the Raptors find themselves in and at some point, they’ll need to consider the best path to getting that player who can bring them back to where they were in 2019.

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What are your thoughts on the Raptors’ play lately? Do you see Boucher earning a spot on Team Canada for the Olympics? Let us know in the comments below.