There was a sense during the preseason, and certainly during the beginning of the G League season, that the Toronto Raptors had something special in Saint Lucian-Canadian centre Chris Boucher. A lanky 6’10”, he showed an ability to hit the three, slash to the rim, and show deft touch around the rim.
As the season has continued through November and now into December though, Boucher’s play seems to be coming on like a steam train. The 30-point games haven’t stymied, even as opposing teams have made it their life’s mission to take Boucher out of games. With double teams coming his way on one end, and attacking guards trying to go at him on the other, there’s no question that page one of any Raptors 905 scouting report is topped with “CHRIS BOUCHER” in big, black marker.
That’s what makes the continued success of the 25-year-old so great. Boucher was named the G League’s Player of the Week this week, joining Nick Nurse and Kawhi Leonard in earning awards in this fresh round of NBA honours.
Let’s get into what Boucher did to earn the next G League Player of the Week in this week’s Dial 905.
Thursday, November 29 at Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Mad Ants 116
Coming in on a two-game win streak, the 905 had another explosive offensive game led by their two-way players. This time it was Jordan Loyd narrowly leading the way, as he had 33 points on 13-for-16 shooting, marking a +19. Boucher had 32 points and 12 rebounds on 14-for-21 from the field.
Following a trend of scoring and giving up massive quarters, the 905 started off on the wrong foot in this one, giving up 42 points to the Mad Ants. The Fort Wayne frontcourt of Alize and Omari Johnson played heavy minutes in this one and played well, combining for 38 points. Their start really helped the Mad Ants.
From there, it was a slow climb for the 905, though — as Boucher would score 15 in the third quarter alone to get Toronto back into the game, leading to what would be a blowout in the fourth quarter.
Duane Notice with Team Canada
One additional note from this one, as the 905 had just nine players dressed. Toronto native Duane Notice is currently with the Canadian national team, competing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers for 2019.
Sunday, December 2 vs. Grand Rapids Drive
A third straight win for the 905... on Star Wars Day, no less! Jama Mahlalela rode his starters to heavy minutes in this one, to great reward. Loyd and Boucher nearly had matching 30-point games again, as Loyd would have 30 points, five assists, and five rebounds; Boucher would score 29 points and add 19 rebounds. Ho hum.
This was the first game for Toronto without Kay Felder, as the guard was waived following a domestic violence charge. Stepping up for the new-look team was Deng Adel, who dropped 20 points in a supporting role, adding eight rebounds.
Boucher would score 19 of his points in the second half after struggling with foul trouble in the first half. Toronto outscored Grand Rapids 29-15 in the third, which was a decisive stretch for the home side.
Heavy production from three players
Though it’s outlined above, this is probably the most heavily weighted the 905 have been toward their best players, as far as offensive output goes. Nobody else had more than eight points (Kyle Collinsworth), as Boucher, Loyd, and Adel were mostly unstoppable. Another check in the column.
Wednesday, December 5 vs. Iowa Wolves
Wednesday’s game saw the 905 play on maybe the biggest stage they’ll see this year. As part of ESPN’s All-Access day around the Raptors, the 905 played their afternooner at Scotiabank Arena in front of an ESPN2 audience. Not shy of the bright lights, the 905 showed out, marking their fifth straight win on the backs of some familiar faces, and one new one.
Boucher had a not-so-great shooting night, but still scored 25 points on 9-for-23, adding 14 rebounds. Coming off the bench, a surprise performance from Rodney Pryor backed up Boucher. Pryor had 19 points on 11 shots in just 21 minutes, as the Georgetown guard with prior G League experience filled in admirably with support. There was also balance coming from Collinsworth and Adel, who combined for 29 points in the starters unit.
So, five straight wins, a weekly honour, and things have only gotten better for the 905. Onward and upward.