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Chris Boucher Signing Could Revamp Toronto's Forward Depth

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According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, the Toronto Raptors signed Canadian sensation and Oregon alum, Chris Boucher, to an Exhibit 10 contract Friday afternoon.

An Exhibit 10 contract is non-guaranteed, one-year agreement that offers the signee the chance partake in the team in which they signed’s training camp where they will contend for a spot on their NBA roster. If Boucher fails to make the team, the Raptors can either cut the 25-year-old and wait and see whether or not he’ll join Toronto’s G-League team as an Affiliate Player (AP) if he happens to clear waivers or convert the deal into a two-way contract. In a world where Boucher joins the Raptors 905 as an AP, he will be granted $85, 000, fifty-thousand more than the G-League’s base salary. Essentially, this contract gives the Raptors’ front office plenty of ways to go about retaining or further developing Boucher next season. The 2016-17 NCAA season saw the Junior forward tally 12 points, eight rebounds, and more than two blocks a night next to now-NBA standouts Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, and Tyler Dorsey before suffering a gruesome ACL tear during the first half of Oregon’s Pac-12 semifinal matchup with California. Before the injury, Boucher already posted a dominant 10 points and had a pair of blocks before the Ducks took their lead into the locker room at the break. Consequently, the 200-pound Canadian was forced from competing in Oregon’s impending dominance during the NCAA Tournament, where they’d end up making the Final Four before losing to the eventual champion North Carolina Tar Heels. Many believe that Boucher’s injury jeopardized the Ducks’ shot at winning it all, and foreshadowed the gifted forward not being selected in the 2016-17 NBA Draft. After posting a mind-blowing 2.6 blocks per contest during his Junior season, Boucher ended up being named to the Pac-12’s All-Defensive Team and set the conference record for blocks in a single season (110). Before Masai Ujiri and the Raptors took a low-risk, high-reward chance on Boucher this summer, he found himself last playing for the Golden State Warriors on a two-way deal. During the 2017-18 season, Boucher was able to rehabilitate his torn ACL, and after an impressive showing with the Santa Cruz Warriors, he made his NBA debut. Despite playing in just one game, his appearance alone set an NBA record as he became the 14th player born north of the border to play in a single-season. The Warriors waived Boucher this past June after averaging 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks for their G-League affiliate. It didn’t take Toronto long to pounce on the opportunity to assign the talented big man to their Summer League team in Las Vegas. Boucher ended up taking advantage of his chance in the four Summer League games he played in, averaging 11 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks in just over 20 minutes per game. I had the pleasure of meeting Boucher during Summer League play and attended No. 29 Toronto’s round two-win over No. 13 Charlotte during round two of the NBA Summer League Playoffs. The Raptors completed the upset in Overtime large in part to a seven-point, eight-rebound, and four-block performance from Boucher, whose enthusiasm on both ends of the floor was noticeable all afternoon.

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During that contest, I spoke with Raptors head coach Nick Nurse about Toronto’s offensive approach ahead of the 2018-19 season. Our conversation came a few days before Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were dealt to the Raptors.

However, when extrapolating from what I was told, I can conclude that Nurse will definitely take advantage of Boucher’s abilities on the defensive end if he ends up making the Raptors’ NBA roster.

In Toronto’s quarterfinal loss to Cleveland, a game I was also in attendance for, Boucher broke out with an 18 point, eight rebound, and four block performance.

With Jakob Poeltl out of the picture in Toronto, and just three big men ahead of Boucher on the active roster (Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valančiūnas, Pascal Siakam), it appears as if the Canadian will most likely spend a large portion of his time at home, playing for his country’s team.

Boucher’s unique combination of long-range shooting and rim protecting should result in at least a permanent role at the end of Toronto’s big-men rotation come October.

Hopefully, Boucher will continue to beat the odds his injury placed against him, and perhaps become a regular role player under Nick Nurse before the 2018-19 NBA season comes to a close.