The Toronto Raptors selected Malachi Flynn and Jalen Harris in the 2020 NBA draft. Bleacher Report seems to not value these players as highly as the Raptors do.
The Toronto Raptors have selected two players that are older than the usual draftee. But that doesn’t mean it is necessarily a bad thing, they usually just fall in the draft because of it. The bright side, however, is that these players tend to be more NBA ready with their extended time in college.
Bleacher Report were not exactly big fans of the Raptors selection, not even the Malachi Flynn pick which most analysts considered a very solid pick — The Ringer gave the Flynn pick an A.
For those who don’t know, Malachi Flynn is a player who has no glaring weaknesses and is ready to contribute in the NBA today. Meanwhile, we know what Jalen Harris’s strength is — athleticism and creating off the dribble, think Norman Powell a bit — but the rest of his game has to be rounded out.
Two selections Bleacher Report were not the fondest of…
Malachi Flynn – Picked 29th in the draft
"“Malachi Flynn seemed like the kind of prospect executives often fool themselves into undervaluing. He’s 22 years old and limited athletically, which isn’t exactly a needle-moving combo in an exercise largely built around long-term projections.But that overlooks a critical detail: The dude can hoop. The Toronto Raptors recognized as much and gained a player with coats of NBA polish and defensive competitiveness.“Flynn isn’t an exciting athlete, but we’ve seen too many point guards excel without flashy tools or bounce, and he has the advanced ball skills, deep shooting range, IQ and pesky defense to overcome his physical limitations,” Wasserman wrote.File this tidbit under “Things That Make You Go Hmmm.” Wasserman likened Flynn to Raptors free-agent guard Fred VanVleet. Make of that what you will.”Grade: C+"
Bleacher Report giving a C+ is a pretty harsh grade given how great Malachi Flynn has been in college. One most (including myself) disagree with.
It seems like the biggest knock on this pick was due to the guards’ lack of athleticism. But the Toronto Raptors are all too familiar with those types of guards. Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry are by no means athletic guards, but they shine in all other areas of the game. Similarly to Malachi Flynn. A player who also won Mountain West Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the year last season.
Don’t be so surprised if Malachi Flynn gets big minutes right off the bat for the Toronto Raptors.
Raptors Rapture Grade: A
Jalen Harris – Picked 59th in the draft
"“Jalen Harris was a bucket during his lone season at Nevada. Considering the low draft cost, the Toronto Raptors would gladly settle for the 6’5” guard just providing occasional buckets north of the border, and he could be up to the challenge.“He’s the type of player you can feed the ball to and ask to generate offense out of nothing,” Wasserman wrote. “He’ll have a chance to carve out a career for his ability to get his own shot from all over the floor off ball screens and isolations.”Saying that, there aren’t many role players who just bring isolation offense to the hardwood, so Harris needs to make sure his athleticism can deliver some other on-court contributions, too.”Grade: C"
The C grade is a fair one considering they could’ve drafted a younger player that could’ve been treated as a future project. But they instead went for a player with an established skillset.
The concern surrounding Jalen Harris is pretty much what else can he do besides being a good isolation scorer. He is not regarded as a good defender but he does have all the athleticism to become one. And under the right development — especially the Toronto Raptors — there is no doubt he can at least become an average defender in the NBA.
Jalen Harris’ play off-ball was also a cause for concern. He is a pretty good shooter (off the dribble mostly) but struggles as a spot-up/catch and shoot shooter. As a complimentary piece, these are all skills Harris will have to work on.
Raptors Rapture Grade: C+
Masai has shown to be very effective with his draft picks, so he should all have our trust, even though some question the Jalen Harris selection. We know Masai wants to have a competitive team, and if he indeed wants to run it back with the same squad. Then picking older NBA ready players like Flynn and Harris is the right choice.