During shootaround ahead of a recent Raptors’ preseason game against the Rockets, the second-year point guard Flynn was practicing transition plays alongside Barnes, leading the break while the rookie finished the play.
The club’s past two first-round picks offered a tantalizing preview of what they may one day do as a tandem, with that transition combo coming to life in their win against Houston.
Best Case Scenario
The ideal scenario for Flynn is playing exactly as he did in April last season. It was last April that the San Diego State alum averaged 12.7 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 42.9% from the floor and 40.8% from deep, earning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors.
That version of Flynn was assertive, didn’t hesitate to put up shots, and looked confident in running the offense. While the rest of the season was predictably bumpy, this year’s campaign should more closely resemble the latter stages of last season in terms of opportunities.
Between a sharp improvement late in the season and some standout play in the G-League with Raptors 905, Flynn showed what he can do when he both gets floor time and can serve as the alpha on the floor. Those opportunities won’t be fully guaranteed this season, but the 23-year-old has the inside track on being able to show what he can do.
What happens if the Toronto Raptors don’t develop Malachi Flynn?
Worst Case Scenario
While the Raptors are generally at a point where they can be patient as a means of fostering development, Flynn isn’t assured of anything. Dalano Banton has looked the part of an intriguing NBA-caliber player and positional nightmare as a 6-9 point guard and could get additional looks if Flynn falters.
In a player’s second year, there’s typically an expectation to see tangible growth and improvement. If that’s not there for Flynn, Dragic could theoretically stick around to handle the bulk of the minutes at the point while Banton covers the rest.
With another point guard occupying the development ranks, lost opportunities are becoming an increasing reality.