Chris Boucher tips Pascal Siakam for MVP

Chris Boucher believes his Toronto Raptors teammate Pascal Siakam is ready to take another leap this season, enough to put him in the MVP conversation.

Video Transcript

- I know it's still early, but how different does camp feel this year compared to a year ago? A lot of new faces, young guys last year. A little bit more continuity this year. You sort of feel that difference and does it allow you to get off to a faster start as a team?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah. I mean, it takes a lot less time for us to go by the defense and all that. I think everybody is kind of used to what we're running and we've got most of the core young guys back so you get through the drill pretty quick. So I think that's really helpful and some of us have been together all summer so we kind of know each other a lot more. So it definitely helps.

- Just what are you honing in on as you come into this season? I mean, you did such a great job of kind of drilling down into your role. And so now that you're comfortable with that, what do you do to kind of enhance what you were good at last year?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I'm just trying to bring whatever the team missed. Whether it's rebound and shooting, you know, I saw. Whatever it is. I mean, at this point I've seen both season. I played a great defensive season, I played a great offensive season in Tampa. So I'm just trying to mix both together. And obviously I think I spent a lot of time this summer working on that and not forgetting where I come from, what I've been doing that made me successful. But you know, I've been at it for a long time now. I know the guys, I know what I have to bring, how I got to start the game. And that usually takes me a long way.

- [INAUDIBLE] that you were talking about all summer?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I've been working the whole summer. Like I said, I did the camps with our guys every time that we needed to, but I've been working--

- Players? Like teams-- guys from like, which groups? Which Raptors were with you most of the summer?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, I was with everybody. I mean, Christian, the young guys, with Pascal, Fred, OG, I mean, every camp that we had I went. So I've been around the team the whole time. Even though I was waiting for that free agency and stuff, I still was around the team and working out at the gym. And like I said, for me, it doesn't really change anything, you know? I just wanted to get better. I had a bitter taste after the Finals and the playoffs. So I really wanted to put in my work and be a big impact in that game.

- You and Precious would play together sometimes right up to the end of the year and really could have an impact. I mean, why do you think you guys pose so many problems, especially defensively, on the floor together?

CHRIS BOUCHER: High motor, we probably could switch a lot of positions. We play hard. I take it that sometimes it doesn't look pretty, but we do and get it done. So I think that's really helpful. And we got a whole year to figure it out. Sometimes he's running, I'm running. Depends on who it is. And with Thad coming in after that, it gave us like a little bit of maturity and dignity that we needed to get. So like I said, playing with Precious just makes it a lot easier because it's another guy that could run like a switch and can rebound.

- You mentioned it. That second unit where you were starting to come together towards the end of the year, Thad comes in, you and Precious, you guys add Otto now, is it sort of starting to come together what that group could look like and what do you think the strengths of that group could be?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, we're long and athletic. That's always going to be hard to score on. Obviously Otto brings some more shooting and all that we were missing out last year, but I think we all got better in shooting, you know? Me, Precious, all of us. So it's just going to help the floor be more spacing and when they come in on offense and try to score on us and we're pretty long and can rebound and all that. So it makes it hard for them on both sides. I think the biggest thing is that we have more years together now so the chemistry's going to be better.

- Chris, Pascal is obviously growing as a leader and a number one option on this team. Can you just talk about what you've seen this off season from him that is maybe a little different? And here at training camp, what's different than maybe what you've seen from him in the past?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, I see Pascal like the better Pascal from when Kawhi was here. In the Finals when Pascal was like scoring everything off of anybody, anywhere, that's how I see him right now. You know, obviously it's more maturity, he's older and all that, so he could score from anywhere. His confidence is there. Swag is there. So it really looks good. Obviously, he's been working hard this summer. I've seen him most of the time in the gym before us anyways. So when somebody works hard like that, usually it pays off and you guys are going to see it this year. I think he's got all the tools to be in the MVP conversation and everything.

- Just as a leader, do you see him pulling over more guys, more of the young guys in the summer and then talking to them and that kind of stuff as well?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah. I mean, clearly he's been working on this, obviously, because he's talking to every young guy on this team. And especially when they make a mistake that we can't go with, I think Pascal is just one of those guys with Fred that goes to them and that's different from the past years. I think it's something that you build over the years and he's really getting good at it.

- Chris, It wasn't so long ago that you were like on the outside looking in on trying to make the team. What do you tell the guys who are here to try out for the team?

CHRIS BOUCHER: I mean, obviously it's hard to see it for them. So coming from me or guys like this, sometimes it's hard to believe, but this team doing a really good job to if you're here, you're already doing something right. So that is something that I tell them is you wouldn't be here if they didn't really like you. So if you keep doing what they brought you here for, usually the door is going to get open. That's what I did and if you think you're going to come here and score, we have all the scores already. So you got to do something else. And if you're able to focus on that part, things are going to go well for you.

- Scottie Barnes was pretty physical as a rookie last year.

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah.

- Have you seen him a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, a little more assertive? Any differences you've observed?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah. I mean, he's 20 so everything is going to change on him. Obviously, he's getting bigger, he's getting stronger. But that's a good thing, obviously. When you see a young player and you see he's getting better every year and his body's changing and you see the amount of work that he's put in. So it's always great to see. And obviously, we're just going to be cheering for him because it's a beautiful thing to watch.

- Chris, three Canadians here at 20. Can you speak to the so-called Golden Generation and the growth of it?

CHRIS BOUCHER: Yeah. I mean, obviously we've come a long way. Going from having a couple of players to 20 to 30 players in the league. That just shows what's coming and there's more coming. So obviously I think the pipeline of Canadian players coming through and it's a great thing to see. Because I mean, there's a lot of people involved working behind the scenes to get us over there and give us opportunities.