Malachi Flynn should look to Mike Conley as a role model


The Toronto Raptors looked as if they were going to rue the day they drafted San Diego State point guard Malachi Flynn in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft, but the young stud and April Rookie of the Month has turned things around in a major way. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see him in the postseason this year.

Flynn has a long way to go before he enters the upper tier of two-way point guards like Toronto’s own Kyle Lowry or Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz, but he has the tools to be a convincing facsimile. Raptors fans need to hope that Flynn stayed up late to watch the Jazz take on the Memphis Grizzlies.

Conley torched the team who employed him for 12 seasons, scoring 27 points while making 7 of his 3-point shots and dishing out 10 assists. Even as he gets a bit long in the tooth, his quality has not dissipated.

Flynn was drafted due to his Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year levels of effort and tenacity on that end working in tandem with an improving offensive game. If every developmental checkpoint is reached and Flynn becomes a star, he could look a lot like Conley.

Toronto Raptors point guard Malachi Flynn should try to emulate Mike Conley

Allowing Ja Morant to score 28 points might not sound like a great defensive effort, but he had his worst offensive performance of the series so far, as he made just 42% of his shots. On a Jazz team that is one of the best perimeter defending teams in the game, Conley is at the center of it all.

Flynn averaged 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game since the start of April, all while making 40% of his shots and 36% of his 3-pointers. His 1.3 steals per game serve as evidence his pestilent nature on defense has translated to the pros.

While Conley came into the league with much more hype as a No. 4 pick from Ohio State, he struggled at times with creating his own shot and shooting efficiently as a rookie. He has since become an expert marksman, and improving that one facet of his came could help Flynn shoot right up the proverbial point guard totem pole.

Conley may not be headed to the Hall of Fame, but he has been a high-level starter for almost all of his 14 seasons in the league thanks to a combination of instinctive passing, clutch shooting, and tough defense. Flynn should learn from this wise sensei and try to carve out a similarly long career in this league by adapting his style of play.