The Toronto Raptors bolstered their backcourt depth by drafting San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn on Wednesday night.
With every passing season, Kyle Lowry gets a little bit older so the Toronto Raptors did the right thing by drafting guard Malachi Flynn 29th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Lowry has one year left on his contract, so it’s unsure whether or not he’ll return for the 2021-22 season. Currently making $31M per season, you’d have to imagine his price-tag would continue to be expensive, even at 35-years-old. If pushing Lowry out the door means the team can acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo, then you know the Raptors would politely send Lowry packing if needed.
Obviously, that has nothing to do with the legacy of Lowry, but that’s the nature of the business. Even though he’s the greatest Toronto Raptors player of all-time, if the team can’t fit Lowry into the salary cap, with the “Greek Freak,” Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet, then he’d most likely be the odd-man-out.
Unless Lowry was willing to take a veteran minimum contract to get one more crack at winning an NBA Championship, it would be tough to keep everyone together. So, that’s where Malachi Flynn fits in perfectly.
Raps Draft Kyle Lowry’s Replacement
Flynn is an older draftee at 22-years-old and is a smaller prospect, listed at 6-foot-1, but that’s not going to stop him from excelling in the NBA. In fact, that will fit the mold of the Toronto Raptors franchise perfectly.
The Toronto Raptors are the “nobody believes in us” team of the decade. Even though no free agent wants to play in Canada or the major networks always refused to showcase them on Christmas Day, the Toronto Raptors have always overachieved expectations.
Let the haters criticize the Raptors all they want because that will only add fuel to the fire and Flynn’s chip on his shoulder mentality will only help the team.
Here’s what Bobby Webster said about Flynn after drafting him (via: Sportsnet.ca).
"“He’s a guy we really liked, and can come in and develop under the leadership of Kyle and Fred…Those are two guys for him to learn under.”"
Flynn also relayed a similar narrative, speaking to the media after getting drafted:
"“I think it’s going to be great for me honestly, as a young guy coming in the league, with two guys who have won a championship, who have put up great numbers, there’s not much bad you can say about those two guys… I think it will be great for me to be around them every day and continue to learn.”"
The excitement to learn from Lowry and VanVleet is important. It’s also nice to hear from Bobby Webster, who seems confident that the team will in fact re-sign VanVleet, even though he’s scheduled to become one of the most sought-after unrestricted free agents.
Flynn had a very accomplished season with San Diego State, guiding them to a 30-2 record, which was good enough for sixth in the national rankings. Not only did he turn his team into one of the best in the nation, but he was also successful individually, winning the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Flynn is someone who can shoot off the dribble, is great in the pick-and-roll, and shoots the three-pointer very well. Not only that, but he’s a great defender, as seen by his Defensive Player of the Year trophy.
All of those attributes sound a lot like Kyle Lowry’s game, so the Toronto Raptors should be very thankful that Flynn will have Lowry to learn from for at least one season. After that, it’s unsure what will happen to Lowry, but at least the veteran can mentor Flynn and help him for a short period of time.
Flynn seems like he’ll be a great replacement for Lowry one day and although Toronto Raptors fans hope that day takes a little longer, the 22-year-old will be ready when his name gets called on, no matter when that happens.