The Toronto Raptors appear likely to take a point guard in the 2021 NBA Draft, with Gonzaga standout Jalen Suggs standing out as the most likely selection for Toronto. This isn’t the news that Malachi Flynn was hoping to come across.
Taken 29th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft out of San Diego State, Flynn went through a very uneven rookie year that saw him evolve from an offensive liability who needed G League time into a Rookie of the Month player that could be a long-term building block.
Despite how he turned it on late in the season, there is almost no possible situation in which Flynn goes into the 2020-21 season as a starting guard despite rumors Kyle Lowry could leave in the offseason. Even if a big man like Evan Mobley falls into their laps and Lowry ends up going elsewhere, the Raptors would likely start Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr.
Toronto’s lack of bench scoring for large chunks of last season was absolutely killer, and Flynn needs to be a huge part of the solution in 2021. That means making major strides on the offensive end and becoming the lethal bench sniper that can give this second unit the shot in the arm they need.
Malachi Flynn needs to become the Toronto Raptors’ sixth man.
Flynn managed to turn on his shooting later in the year, but he still came out of his rookie year with some less than stellar shooting averages, including 37.5% from the field and 32% from 3-point range. To be fair to Flynn, those numbers improved by the end of the year, as he shot 40% from the field and 37% from 3-point range in April and May, when his minutes increased.
Two areas that Flynn should concentrate on are the restricted area and the very top of the 3-point arc. Those straightaway 3-pointers were one of only two areas on the court in which Flynn shot above the league average at 38%. If that’s his sweet spot, why not chuck it up from there as often as possible?
Flynn’s ability to finish in the restricted area, or just outside of it, should go hand in hand with him adding some muscle and improving his skill to make shots despite contact. His success rate ranked below the league average of 58%, and turning that number around could do wonders for him.
We know that Flynn can take over games when he gets hot. Heck, he recorded 15 points in a quarter against a very good Hawks team. We just need to see a bit more consistency from the young stud.
There is a lot to like about Flynn as a defender, passer, and athlete, but he could stand to make some minor improvements to his offensive game. With or without Suggs, Flynn could help the Raptors finally have some peace of mind when the starters are on the bench.
Imagine what the combination of Flynn and Chris Boucher on the bench could do.