Canada’s quest for an Olympic berth got off to a strong start with a 96-87 exhibition win over Nigeria, but the team’s chances at the upcoming FIBA World Cup have taken a hit with yet another notable absence.
And we’re not talking about Kelly Olynyk, who slipped on a wet portion of the court and left Wednesday night’s exhibition game early. The Miami Heat centre is reportedly dealing with a bruised knee and is expected to be ready when Canada’s tournament begins on Sept. 1 against Australia.
Raptors forward Chris Boucher — who was named the 2018-19 G League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year — was expected to be one of Canada’s best players after Jamal Murray, RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tristan Thompson, Dwight Powell and Dillon Brooks pulled out for various reasons.
But Boucher wasn’t dressed when Canada took the court for Wednesday’s pre-tournament tune-up, and has been ruled out for the rest of the summer due to personal reasons. Centre Owen Klassen was added to the roster to help fill the void.
So Chris Boucher is confirmed OUT for the @FIBAWC (personal reasons). Kelly Olynyk (bruised knee) will take a week off but will continue on to Worlds as planned.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 8, 2019
Boucher was the star of Toronto’s Summer League team, showing off an expanded skillset that allowed him to score 20 or more points in each of his four games played.
His dominant play suggests that he no longer has anything to prove at the G League level and is ready to contribute in the NBA, but a strong showing at the World Cup could have gone a long way in preparing Boucher for the 2019-20 season.
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