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Phoenix Suns Free Agent Target: Chris Boucher

Length. Grit. An ideal fit?

Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

A new series begins...

Over the next week, as we prepare for NBA Free Agency on June 30 at 9:00pm AZ time, Bright Side of the Sun will be exploring the market and proposing different additions to the Phoenix Suns roster. Some will make sense. Others might not. But hopefully this year I finally get one right. Why? So I can softly whisper, “I told you so…”

Every offseason I put together a list of free agents who I believe could help the Phoenix Suns in their quest to climb the mountain to a championship. In years past I’ve suggested names like Serge Ibaka (he’s now too old and non-impactful) and Montrezl Harrell (drug trafficking charges anyone?). This offseason I’m trying out some new names.

And the first name on my list is 6’9” power forward/center Chris Boucher.

Phoenix needs assistance at the power forward position. You know it. I know it. The guy who patiently waited behind me at Costco this morning while I filled up my truck knows it. While we don’t know yet what the future holds for current starting PF Jae Crowder, who is entering the last year of a highly tradable $10M contract, we can start to let our minds wander.

Time to spin the “what if” wheel.

What if James Jones choses to use the Crowder contract in a trade to create Ayton cap space or upgrade an asset? What if he extends Cameron Johnson, knowing that his contract would kick in at the beginning of the 2023-24 season? What if Monty Williams want to have Cam Johnson as a starter?

Adding unrestricted free agent Chris Boucher could provide a solution to the backup power forward position that Cam Johnson vacates.

Boucher just completed his commitment to the Toronto Raptors, who paid him $13.5M over the past two seasons. The 29 year-old Canadian forward is slim in stature, weighing in at 200 pounds. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with length. Despite only starting in 9 of his 80 appearances last season, he was third in total rebounds for the Raps and second in offensive rebounds.

Geesh. If only the Suns needed help on the boards. Oh, wait! They does!

In 21.1 minutes last season, Boucher scored 9.4 points on 46.4% shooting. You’d lose three-point shooting depth from your backup PF – Chris shot 29.7% from deep on 2.9 attempts nightly – but his 6.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks would fortify your interior.

He is a defensive plus, posting a 105.7 DEFRTG last season, and he was second on the team with a 5.3 NETRTG.

The more I watch Boucher’s game, the more I want him in purple and orange.

What Boucher also possesses is a toughness and grit that coincides with the culture in Phoenix. He didn’t have an easy road to the NBA. He wasn’t drafted out of Oregon – a university he attended after earning his opportunity by playing at New Mexico Junior College and Northwest College in Wyoming. He came into the league at 25 years-old on a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. He earned his minutes through dedication to his craft and studying the game.

He’s a grinder.

Joseph Strauss, writer for SB Nation’s Raptors HQ, noted that, “Boucher has spoken openly about his mid-season turnaround. In addition to studying film twice a day, the 6-foot-9 forward has credited pre-game meditation with helping to clear his mind. Ray Chow, athletic trainer for the Raptors, noticed that there was “so much going on in [Boucher’s] mind” while he was on the court, and suggested practicing meditation. From an outsider perspective, Boucher looked overly frustrated and at times checked out during the first couple months. Clearly, his new strategies helped him get back on track.”

That type of mental toughness coupled with physical acumen would be an ideal fit for Phoenix. The question becomes whether or not the Suns could make the math work. What is Boucher’s value?

Spin that “what if” wheel one more time and you might stumble across the correct combination that could lead to Boucher in Phoenix

What say you, Bright Side Nation? Should the Suns take a flyer on UFA Chris Boucher?


Would you like to see the Suns pursue Chris Boucher in free agency?

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