Raptors’ Malachi Flynn is looking like a rare Masai Ujiri draft misstep

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 21: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 21: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

To put things mildly, the Toronto Raptors haven’t seen Malachi Flynn provide them with a ton of production this season. While he has been given a nice diet of minutes this season, that’s only because Toronto is struggling with depth issues due to injuries. The San Diego State product is looking more like a miss from Masai Ujiri with each passing game.

Flynn, who was the talk of the town after winning Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, is averaging just 2.7 points per game. He is making 34% of his shots and 25% of his 3-point attempts. His minutes per game have fallen from 19.7 last year to just 8.6 in 2021-22. Wednesday’s loss against the Memphis Grizzlies was especially tough to watch.

Flynn recorded five points and one assist in 22 minutes of play, going 2-8 from the field and 1-7 from 3-point range. Even though the Grizzlies were playing without the services of Ja Morant, they were able to pull out a victory because of Desmond Bane, who was selected one pick after Flynn in 2020.

Bane, who is averaging 16.0 points per game, tallied 23 points while going 8-16 from the field and 5-9 from 3-point range. A Raptors team that is crying out for some extra shooting at the moment would’ve done well to add a player like the TCU alum. Instead, Nick Nurse is being forced to ride the Flynn roller coaster.

The Toronto Raptors may have missed on Malachi Flynn.

Flynn was coming off of a season in which he helped lead the Aztecs to a 30-2 record before the pandemic. Flynn was named Mountain West Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the year, so the idea of converting him into an undersized two-way star in the Fred VanVleet mold made sense.

Unfortunately, Flynn never made the necessary offensive improvements. He was a 36% 3-point shooter in college, and he’s regressed in that area by putting up a 31% 3-point percentage in the pros. The fact that Bane has become a perfect tertiary scorer right out of the gate in Memphis has to make this selection sting even more.

Flynn’s NBA career is likely not in danger of coming to an end. Unless Toronto includes him as a sweetener in a trade deal, he’ll likely finish the year with the squad. Having said that, they need to see more encouraging signs on offense, as he appears to be taking a step back.

Ujiri doesn’t have a ton of first-round mistakes on his resume, but Flynn doesn’t appear to be trending in the right direction.

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