Raptors: Malachi Flynn’s scoring steals the show in Summer League

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MAY 11: Malachi Flynn #8 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MAY 11: Malachi Flynn #8 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

During the Toronto Raptors’ Summer League debut against the New York Knicks, all eyes were justifiably fixated on No. 4 overall pick Scottie Barnes. While the Florida State alum certainly impressed during his first NBA exhibition game, that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Malachi Flynn looked like the best player on the floor at times.

After a very sluggish start to his NBA career on the offensive end, Flynn was able to turn things around to the point where he was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April. With his role projected to expand after the loss of Kyle Lowry, Toronto needs to see more growth from him on offense.

Flynn might be impressing at pro-am invitationals, but there is a big difference between those games and Summer League. Luckily, Flynn’s performance in Vegas was so impressive that it made some question why he was even there in the first place.

Flynn led the Raptors with 23 points in the 89-79 victory, adding six rebounds and four made 3-pointers. Flynn’s main selling point as a draft prospect might’ve been his perimeter defense and distribution skills, but the potential to evolve into a lethal scorer was always there, and he showed off what he could become in Vegas.

Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn looked more aggressive as a scorer.

Flynn was creating off of the dribble with ease, and he accentuated that by being able to find cutters in the lane as a passer. Finishing at the rim was an area of weakness for Flynn last year, but given how he made some contested layups and tricky floaters in this game, he has attacked that particular problem in an aggressive fashion.

From April onwards last year, Flynn averaged 12.5 points per game on 40% shooting and 36% from 3-point range. With Kyle Lowry in Miami, Flynn is going to be one of the first guards off of the bench. Cooking rookies in Summer League isn’t necessarily an indication of success, but it’s hard to watch Flynn yesterday and not be impressed.

Flynn is one awkward landing away from moving into the starting lineup, and even though he was picked near the end of the first round, Toronto clearly seems to view him as a long-term piece that they will build around in years to come.

Irrespective of what Barnes does, the Raptors have four or five developmental boxes they need to check to come out of Summer League with an A grade. Flynn evolving from a quality defense-first backup point into an offensive creator with a lethal 3-point shots helps complete one of those objectives.

Next. Kyle Lowry career retrospective. dark