Helping the Toronto Raptors win two of their last three games, reigning NBA G League MVP Chris Boucher has stepped into the spotlight and there appears to be more where that came from. He’s been a recent double-digit scoring threat, but it hasn’t always been this way.
Even MVPs have to wait for their time to shine sometimes. What sets them apart is how they cash in when it comes along.
Perseverance. Resilience. Preparation. Patience. In addition to pure skill and talent, all of these things have been a part of Boucher’s journey. He overcame being homeless as a teenager and bounced back from a horrific collegiate injury to take the NBA G League by storm. Last season, the 6-foot-11 forward averaged 27.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.1 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game. He thrived on both ends of the floor, scoring with ease and asserting himself defensively with startling physicality. He became the first minor league player to win dual MVP and DPOY honors in the same season. Such prowess was enough to convince the Raptors to convert his Two-Way pact into a standard NBA contract, making Boucher a full-time NBA player.
Alas, the big man wasn’t done.
Despite sporadic and modest playing time, Boucher now calls himself an NBA champion following the Raptors’ formidable run last season. Most would consider that a luxurious cherry on top of an already tasty sundae, but even before that, Boucher had a feeling he was indeed destined for more.
“For me, it keeps getting bigger. Every time I get to a point where I’m like, ‘what else,’ it’s always something,” he said back in June. “I tore my ACL and went to The Finals (as a Warriors Two-Way Player in 2018). Then I got waived, went to [the Raptors 905] and won the G League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Now I’m like, ‘what else?’ I’m at the NBA Finals. It keeps coming.”
“It makes me want to work harder because if I can get all of this without getting to my potential, what else could happen?”
Less than one month into his first full-time NBA season, Boucher is answering his own question with impressive results. No longer constrained by the 45-day, Two-Way Player maximum, the 26-year-old is ready and able to be called upon by Toronto head coach Nick Nurse, a fellow NBA G League alum, to help out whenever he’s needed.
Following an injury to Serge Ibaka, Boucher has been the beneficiary of extended playing time. Coach Nurse is well aware of the kind of talent and preparation that stems from minor league alums. With averages of 11 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.3 steals in his last three games, this budding athlete has come through in the clutch.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) November 11, 2019
These numbers may not appear quite as remarkable as the superstar-like ones he put up in the NBA G League, but rest assured, the same kind of productivity is there. Boucher’s performed like this in just 20 minutes of action per game, after not receiving more than five minutes of playing time in a previous game this season.
This makes his recent accomplishment all the more impressive. Boucher has remained ready all along, amid the ups and downs, ensuring the Raptors can depend on the same kind of player they originally rolled the dice on — regardless of the circumstance — at any given time.
Boucher’s next chapter has already begun.