Chris Boucher misses his 'WWE tag team' partner Precious Achiuwa

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher discusses evolving his offence, working through the lows in the NBA and how much he misses playing alongside Precious Achiuwa.

Video Transcript

- Chris, the last-- two of the last three games, you really had a [INAUDIBLE] same kind of impact you had at the start of the year, every game. How have you felt the last in a while? Back in a rhythm in that [INAUDIBLE]?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I'm just having to figure it out. Obviously, everybody's back. So I was just figuring out what I could do. Obviously, with Gary coming off the bench, that's another weapon we have. That's just a different way to play. And I think it's just something that I had to figure out. Obviously, I just want to be in the same energy, be able to defend all that.

But I also got to utilize Gary off the bench, one of the best offensive players that we can have and playing with that and sometimes we're not sure was there. Just another system that I got to figure it out, but I'm getting there, obviously.

- A couple possessions against their zone in the second quarter where you got to [INAUDIBLE] get a couple of turn around. Is that an evolving part of your game getting to that spot and making the shot or the pass?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah, I mean, obviously we've been playing against a lot of zone, and it never took me a minute to figure it out, the open spots and all that. Usually, the zone, the middle is the open spot. And I've been working a lot on my mid-range and all that, just trying to make sure that I can hit that shot if it's giving. And today went in. And obviously, they found me in the middle.

So that's something that we're definitely working on since every team is playing us zones, a lot.

- Using that range shot as an example, you've added so much to your game over the past five years. How much of your growth is just individual and how much is this element is what the team needs from you?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, I think, now, it's more what the game is giving me. Obviously, people are seeing a lot of games with the offensive rebounds and shooting corner 3's or whatever. So now they're adjusting. A lot of people are running me off the line and all that. And usually, I don't have the clear lane because they're packing us on the paint. So that's some stuff that I'm trying to work on, utilizing the mid-range so I don't have to go get in charge and all that.

And whenever they don't, they don't. I can steal offensive rebounding all that. So it was just making a mixture, because, obviously, the game is evolving. And people are doing different stuff against me. And it's just a read that I have to make now.

- And when you were-- at Christian's point, in his career, you did similar things getting like four, five, eight blocks a game and then not so many defensive rebounds. Kind of like him now. Have you talked to him about the balance between rebounding Achuiva?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean I try to stay positive with him because he's getting a lot of people talking to him. Obviously, we want him to be great. And when he doesn't make those rotation or don't protect the paint, I think he's getting a lot of people telling them what to do. So during that time, it used to bother me a lot. So I kind of know a little bit better how to tell him what he has to do instead of waiting until he miss it.

When he does it, just go in and say good job and do it again. And those are a lot better. But I think he's-- like I say, he's learning. We're throwing a lot of stuff at him. He's playing a lot of good bigs. So that's good-- that's good experience for him. And he's going to get better. Like you said, games like that where he could get four or five blocks, that's exactly what we need. And he's going to continue to do that.

- What does it do for you guys when Fred is attacking and getting into the paint as opposed to--

CHRIS BOUCHER: Sure he's the head of the snake, so obviously, we go as far as he go. Him and Pascal, when they're aggressive and making things happen, I think that's the best basketball. We have a lot of weapons. So it's always good to see them ready to play and going at the paint all the time. I think, Fred, you know, he's been having a tough whistle lately and it make-- it makes it a little harder.

But Fred's going to do what Fred does. And I'm not-- I'm not surprised at anything that's going on right now. When he's going to get out of it, he's going to get out of it. Today, I think, it was a good game for him to just silence the talkers a little bit and go back to what you usually do.

- Chris, how much have you come to, like, enjoy and embrace the process of, like, evolving and finding different ways to be successful?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, it's good now. I mean, obviously, the older I get, the better-- it's good to see that I'm getting better. It would be bad to get older and just make the same mistakes. So that's something that-- it makes the game funner. There's a lot of stuff that I didn't know about the game. There's a lot of rotation. I've seen you guys tell that I could have got better.

And a lot of things, and I never understood why. But when you start doing it a little bit better, you're like, oh, OK, well, those are the things that I could have gotten better at last year or the year before. So it's always enjoyable. A lot of stuff that I could got better at and still got to get better on. And it's just a pleasure, because obviously, I do my job as to I think what I love.

I could do it with a lot of energy and get better. So that's something that every player wish to be.

- Chris, you guys have had an up and down year at times this season. Do you think there's anything to the idea that it can be more challenging to do it the second time around with a young team as opposed to the first year? Everything's new and different, especially for the younger players. And then, the second time, there's the added challenge of having to grind out in a two-game season?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, to be honest with you, I think the only-- the main reason why it's been up and down is that we've been having injuries and sickness and all that. So we're still trying to figure it out how to play with all the guys back. We're still missing Precious, if Otto was not hurt, and all that. So for us to get to the full potential, we need everybody to be there and everybody to know their roles.

And we haven't got that yet. So obviously, with these ups and downs, we're still trying to figure it out how are we going to-- the rotations and how everybody's going to play and who's going to do this and that. So when we got disfigured, it's going to be a lot easier to go into games. But I don't-- I'm not too concerned about the ups and downs. I think we could get a couple of streak at games and realize what we could do.

And obviously, everybody's healthy now. So this is what you guys are going to see. And that's a good thing.

- On another note, you've talked about how meditation has helped you just like develop-- you've developed habits to be more focused throughout the game. Every player kind of has to go through their own process and find what works for them, right? But as a leader, like, how do you help impart some of that stuff on to players when they do need to improve that focus and stuff like that?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Well, me, what I say to everybody-- every player that I talk to, is you're going to have downs. You know, there's-- I don't know one player that this season went all the way up and never went down. So that's the best thing I can say, is that you're going to have down. And usually, those are the moments where you get better, is by going against it and try to-- your shots are not falling, do other stuff so when your shots are falling, you can be a better complete player.

And those are the stuff that I try to get players to understand, because like I said, I went through the ups and downs and it could be really tough. But if you keep thinking that you're a good player, you're here for a reason, and you can help the team, usually, things are getting a lot better. And for young guys, I figured it out. And it took me a minute. So they got a lot of times in front of them.

- Chris, with Precious out, has that been a bit of a funky adjustment for you?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah, man, he's my teammate, man.

[LAUGHTER]

You know what I'm saying? If it was a tag team champion, I'm about my one handicap match. But it's OK, man. He's going to be back soon. And honestly, like I said, he's another piece that we need. And, you know, obviously, we miss him and all that. But it's just helping me figure it out a ways to be effective, you know, without him in the game. And when he comes back, it might be a lot easier for me, more open ends.

And, you know, same thing for him. Obviously, I think he's watching the game. And that's something that I've done on beginning of the year where, when I was hurt, I was watching to see what I could do. And I'm sure he's doing the same. And when he gets back, he's going to help be really helpful.

- Which tag team are you?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Huh?

- Which tag team are you?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Ah, we could be D-generation X. I'm Sean Michael's dog.

[LAUGHTER]