While Toronto Raptors have emphasized the development of young players this season, former first-round pick Malachi Flynn has not been given a substantial diet of minutes. While Scottie Barnes has started every game in which he’s been healthy and Dalano Banton has been given a ton of quality minutes, Flynn has been rooted to the bench.
Just one year after winning a Conference Rookie of the Month Award, Flynn has found it to be almost impossible to earn consistent time on the floor. His minutes per game have fallen off of a cliff, going from 19.7 last year to 6.3 in 2021-22. He is averaging just 1.8 points per game on 33% shooting.
Toronto could go in several different directions at the trade deadline. While Masai Ujiri has espoused the fact that patience is a virtue as it pertains to such a young roster, this team could look to be aggressive in the name of trying to make a playoff spot.
Be it through another remake of the bench or an aggressive trade, Flynn is not guaranteed a spot on the 2022-23 roster.
Could we be seeing the last of Flynn in Toronto? The fact that he has failed to take a step forward in his development since last season is concerning. Could Toronto just ship him somewhere else and gets assets back in return?
What will the Toronto Raptors do with Malachi Flynn?
Flynn didn’t lose his spot in the rotation due to random chance. Banton came in and seized the opportunity to snatch his minutes away. While it’s hard to make a great offensive impact in such a limited time frame, 33% from the field is likely not what Nurse and this coaching staff were looking for.
The Raptors’ bench is not a very deep unit, especially in the backcourt. Goran Dragic is counting down the days until he’s traded, and Banton’s unique style is not enough to prop up that entire unit. Toronto could stand to add another point guard before the deadline or in the offseason, making it even more difficult for Flynn to earn some quality minutes.
Still, there is hope. Flynn was genuinely excellent on offense in the last two months of the season, and his performances during Summer League and preseason play show that he can start to cook from 3-point range when he’s cut loose. His defense has popped on occasion as well.
Flynn would have plenty of value if they wanted to deal him, as getting something of interest for a player falling out of the rotation makes sense. Barring a magical insertion into the rotation and a replay of what we saw last year, Flynn may need some very lucky breaks to stick with this roster in 2022.