If not for the heroics of Malachi Flynn, the Toronto Raptors would have suffered another brutal loss against the Atlanta Hawks. Even without star point guard Trae Young, Atlanta had little trouble with the Raptors for most of this game. Gary Trent Jr. had a rare off night, and a solid game from Khem Birch was overshadowed by Clint Capela going to town in the paint.
Flynn managed to give the Raptors a glimmer of hope, as he managed 22 points on 8-18 shooting. Of those 22 points, 15 came in the fourth quarter, as he made five 3-pointers (including four in a two-minute span) that cut Atlanta’s lead to two before another missed shot on a crucial possession ended the comeback.
Toronto lost 108-103, but Flynn is proving that amid all the losing in this cursed season, he is more than capable of becoming a quality point guard in this league on both ends of the floor. While his offense was so poor at the beginning of the season he was demoted to the G League, he has returned from Orlando with a vengeance.
Head coach Nick Nurse praised Flynn, who has been seeing extended minutes due to both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet missing time, saying that he is showing some “good early flashes” and thinks that he’ll continue to improve with playing time.
Everyone who said Flynn will never learn how to shoot, please form an orderly queue.
Malachi Flynn is making waves on offense for the Toronto Raptors
Since April 2, when the Raptors dominated the Golden State Warriors, Flynn has been playing 33.5 minutes per game. In that time, he’s averaged 14.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, all the while making 43% of his total shots and 43.5% of his 3-point attempts.
His terrific defense is one thing, but the main reason the Raptors took Flynn in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft was the fact that he was the driving force on offense for a San Diego State team that dominated the Mountain West Conference. After a few rough games to start his career, Flynn is looking much more confident.
Flynn isn’t just chucking the ball from deep, as he’s using his speed to slice inside the paint and finish with some degree of success. Flynn went from a complete bust to a valuable member of the rotation who will assuredly be back in 2020.
Flynn might not be ready for full-time starting work just yet, as even a backcourt rotation without Lowry could see VanVleet shift to point guard full-time, but his future looks bright, and the Raptors can take solace in the fact that these losses are coming amid a stretch in which Flynn is proving his worth in the pros.