For the first time in program history, Oregon has five individuals preparing for the 2017 NBA Draft. The greatest team in program history was loaded with professional talent, such as Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis. I will be previewing them in that order this week, as we prepare for the NBA Draft on June 22.
With our second NBA Draft Profile, who better than Swatter Boy? The Montreal product played a pivotal role in Oregon’s success, alongside being one of the most popular Ducks in school history. Maybe Marcus Mariota stands as the only Duck above CB.
If you know the story of Boucher, then you know his latest injury is nothing but a setback in his pursuit of the NBA. An ACL tear of that magnitude would scare some away from the game all together, but not the Sports Illustrated cover boy. Nobody can hold back the talent he possesses, his story is just beginning.
The Canadian was unable to perform at the 2017 NBA Combine in Chicago due to injury. However, just being invited to the prestigious showcase event is a privilege.
There, they took his measurements. He listed at 6-foot-10 overall with an incredible 7-foot-4 wingspan. Boucher registered the second-largest hands in the 2017 draft class at 10.5 inches.
On Wednesday, I spoke about Jordan Bell’s character. Today, it is Boucher’s relentlessness. It’s his unwillingness to give up because life has been difficult. There is nobody better suited for the next level. Just a few years ago, he was a homeless kid searching for his next meal. I wouldn’t want to be the organization that overlooks his hunger to succeed.
I once referred to Boucher as a player with a “limitless skill-set,” and lottery potential. After tearing his ACL in the Pac-12 Tournament, I still believe he has limitless potential but he will not get drafted due to the postseason setback.
Boucher can do everything on a basketball court. His advantage is he may be the only player in the world with his skills. Some say Kevin Durant is the same height and has all the skill in the world. I reply, ‘Tell me when KD is averaging more than a block per game (1.0) in his career.’
The Montreal product can shoot from anywhere on the floor, rebound, block shots, play defense and loves to distribute the basketball to teammates. He led the country and Pac-12 in blocked shots (110) during his remarkable junior season.
Boucher’s strength in numbers was his ability to spread the floor with his versatility on the offensive end. His vast array of offensive skills forces the defense to guard him on the perimeter. Most teams need to bring their center out to guard Boucher. This opens gaping holes in the defense, thus enabling space for Boucher’s teammates to create ample opportunities.
He doesn’t have a great deal of tread on his tires. Boucher pretty much just started playing basketball. Not only will his physical game improve over time, but the mental aspect will evolve with playing time and experience.
Clearly, there are injury concerns now. Most teams will never even consider Boucher for their organization due to the timing of it. However, those teams will be missing out in the long run. Not only will they secure an exceptional talent with CB, they will be signing a great person with high moral character.
“I just feel terrible for Chris,” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman after Boucher’s injury. “He’s been such a big part of our program the last two years. He’s a unique player. He leads the conference in blocked shots. He does a phenomenal job of protecting the rim. I just don’t know what to say. It was a big blow. He’s probably our most popular player.”
At times, his coordination comes into question. Maybe it is his timing or the lack of basketball playing experience, but he will have moments of “what was that?”
Free throw shooting needs improvement. This is a tricky subject for some basketball players. Boucher shouldn’t have any trouble with additional time to work on his craft.
Aside from his injury, Boucher has exhibited durable behavior throughout his career. He is in great shape, as well. The knee shouldn’t be a long term problem for him but some will stay away entirely.
Read the Sports Illustrated article again. You couldn’t be days away from the NBA Draft in Boucher’s shoes without an internal engine that never slows down. He is one of the most incredible people I have come across in my life. I’ve only seen Duck fans admire Marcus Mariota more over the course of a career. Boucher is a special person.
Boucher was the 2014 JuCo National Player of the Year from Northwest College in Wyoming. The rest was history after he signed on the dotted line with the Ducks.
Once he stepped foot on campus, nothing would ever be the same. Boucher NEVER lost a home game during his two-year Oregon career. Let me restate that, he has a career record of 35-0 from Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene. Boucher is a winner, plain and simple.
In two years with the Ducks, the green and yellow lost just 11 total games. Oregon dropped two games without Boucher on the floor in the postseason.
He was the only person during the 2015-16 college basketball season to record 100+ blocked shots and 35+ triples. He led the nation in blocked shots (110) during his outrageous junior campaign.
Over the course of his career at Oregon, statistically Boucher has measured up and then some. He averaged 12.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 2.7 BPG during two seasons in Eugene.
“For him to overcome, to really not start playing basketball until he was out of high school,” Altman stated. “Then he went the junior college route. It is a story of patience and staying after it. Not giving in to it. To come here and be the most popular player we’ve had in a long time, the people love him.”
In 2015-16, Boucher led the nation in shooting percentage (.667).
He was a part of the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team the last two years with teammate Jordan Bell (2015, 2016). Not to mention, Boucher was the key senior leader during Oregon’s historic 33-6 season. He set the tone for that team on a nightly basis.
The big man shot 35 percent from behind the arc this year. Overall, he shot 64 percent from the charity stripe. He is not your typical shot blocker.
He is controlled violence. That is the best way to describe his defensive prowess. Boucher will rarely foul out of a game, but he plays so tough it’s almost shocking he doesn’t garner more foul calls.
Boucher exited Oregon as the No. 2 shot-blocker in school history (189) with just two years of experience. Only Mr. Bell (233) outranks him.
“He’s more worried about his teammates than himself. We’re going to help him through this recovery,” said Altman. “He is such a unique player. His ability to shoot the three, mixed in with his shot-blocking ability. He’s able to run the floor really well. Guys just throw it up to the rim and have him go get it.”
Boucher doesn’t have quick feet like Bell. He uses his length to his advantage through concise long steps. Two strides and Boucher is on the other side of the floor. The presence he creates on defense is legitimate.
He gets in solid position for a defensive rebound, but his positioning is better on the offensive glass. With time and NBA experience, he will find it consistently. He has long, strong hands which help him secure the tipped balls.
His incredible 7-foot-4 wingspan takes up half the court seemingly. Offensive players will find it difficult to pass around him because he is always deflecting passes.
The jump shot could use some work. He has a consistent stroke, but it needs to be far more efficient. He could stand to improve his shooting inside the perimeter, as well. Not to mention, his free throw shooting can ONLY get better.
Swatter Boy needs to add weight. He has an extremely strong lower body, but that won’t help much if you don’t have an upper body to match at the next level. If he can add 20-25 pounds over the next year or two, that will be a great start.
Most of the time, Boucher was the motivational leader in the Oregon locker room. Some players may not show up every night, but you never have to worry about that with Chris.
CB understands life has more pressing issues than basketball, but that also creates a calmness to his game that others fail to attain. He has a great support system around him and that keeps him strong. I will never question any move Boucher makes. He knows what’s best for himself.
Boucher can run a high-low offense effortlessly with another versatile big man that can pass. He is incredibly unselfish and can distribute when an opening occurs. His versatility creates space and this enables him extra opportunity on the offensive end.
He is Kevin Durant with a defensive presence. Obviously, Boucher does not fill it up like KD. However, his finished product could look like something of that sort. Boucher’s talent and ceiling is only growing over time. With more time on the floor, his game is sure to improve. Additionally, his basketball IQ will only evolve further with experience.
“This injury is a little setback for him, but he’s still going to play basketball for awhile with his unique abilities and his competitiveness,” said Altman. “This is just a little setback, but he’ll bounce back. Next year he’ll be playing somewhere.”
Realistically, I can see him doing the same things as the New York Knicks phenom Kristaps Porzingis. Will Boucher make the same impact on the league? He should. But will he? Only time and intelligence of an organization will provide that answer.
Realistically, Boucher has a very unique skill set that you do not witness very often. Guys with 7-foot-4 wingspans are usually under the rim creating havoc. However, CB’s havoc starts 20 feet out and works its way inside. His potential is monumental.
NBA DRAFT PROJECTION
When the draft concludes on June 22, I believe Boucher will be one of the first players signed as a free agent. Due to the injury, he will be avoided through two rounds of the 2017 NBA Draft, but GM’s won’t waste time after the draft ends. Trust me.
INTERESTED NBA TEAMS
Some of the possible destinations for Boucher are the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Hornets.
In particular, I have researched every team in the NBA for openings for any of Oregon’s big five. The aforementioned organizations stood out to me for Boucher. Teams like the Bulls need athletic big men with versatility. A player like Boucher would work wonders for them.
A team like Phoenix however, could be perfect. With Tyson Chandler on his way out and Alex Len still learning the game, Boucher would be perfect in their uptempo attack. The Suns play very similarly to the Ducks.
They also have a star or two like Oregon that could eliminate any pressure on Boucher to carry the load. The place where the Ducks ended their unprecedented Final Four run could be the place where Boucher begins his professional journey.
Video courtesy of Oregon Basketball via YouTube
My next NBA Draft Profile: Dillon Brooks will be published on Friday at ATQ.