The Toronto Raptors have added even more intrigue to their roster for Las Vegas Summer League, as Raptors Republic has learned that Chris Boucher will be joining the Raptors for the summer tournament.
Boucher was waived by the Golden State Warriors earlier this month following an abbreviated rookie season on a two-way contract. Undrafted out of Oregon in part because of a torn ACL suffered in March, the Warriors quickly scooped Boucher up as a free agent and brought him in-house to rehabilitate. By January, he was able to get on the floor with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G League, and late in the year he’d become the record-setting 14th Canadian to play in the NBA in a single season.
During his 20 games with Santa Cruz, Boucher was able to show a lot of what made him an intriguing prospect over his last two years at Oregon despite being far older than most prospects (Boucher is already 25, as he found his way to basketball in Quebec late and did three years across two junior colleges). In 22.2 minutes, Boucher averaged 11.8 points on a reasonable 52.5-percent true-shooting and chipped in 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. His shooting range is still a major work in progress – he hit one in a recent exhibition game with the Canadian senior men’s national team – as he was just 11-of-50 from outside and shot 61.8 percent at the free-throw line. He also needs to add a ton of weight, as he’s listed at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and just a generous 200 pounds. Even still, he’s incredibly long and athletic, possesses remarkable shot-blocking timing and instincts, and has some nascent perimeter skills on the offensive end.
In hanging around Canada’s training camp this week, multiple teammates mentioned Boucher’s play unprompted, and with several Raptors-adjacent bodies around the national team (Nathaniel Mitchell, Jack Sikma, a pair of Raptors 905 players), word getting out probably didn’t hurt. While it’s the ability to alter and block shots that first stands out about Boucher, a few people I spoke to were surprised at just how far his offensive game has come. That’s important at the national team level, where he’s likely to play center, and downright paramount to his NBA potential, where his lack of size might preclude him from playing the five for significant minutes for a while still. (You could definitely play him as a stretchy, switchy center, and he has solid rebounding instincts, but you’ll be giving up some interior presence outside of help at the rim.)
As far as potential two-way contracts go, Boucher seems like an ideal candidate even at his aged. He has a lot of tools, both physically and skill-wise, and would represent a similar developmental experiment to Kostas Antetokounmpo (who the Raptors worked out) and Bruno Caboclo, just with a tighter timeline and with a more advanced starting point. He’s raw, in other words, but not incredibly so, and it’s not entirely unreasonable to expect he could contribute depth minutes in the frontcourt if he can add size over the summer and stay healthy early in the year. Failing a two-way deal, it’s possible Boucher could be amenable to a camp deal and a term with Raptors 905, though it might take some convincing, as he’s likely to have other offers at the NBA level.
Boucher adds a real element of intrigue (and Canadiana!) to the Summer League roster, which now looks as follows:
PG: Potts, Rowsey, Miller-McIntyre
SG: Richardson, Alkins
SF: Anunoby, Miller, Edwin
PF: McKinnie, Boucher
C: Thompson, Lima
The Raptors will likely release the full Summer League roster later today.