Masai Ujiri and Toronto Raptors have done well when it comes to adding talent in the later parts of the first round, but Malachi Flynn has not developed in the same way that Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby have. Flynn is shaping up to be one of the few Ujiri draft misses on his resume.
The San Diego State product is averaging just 3.1 points per game on 37.3% shooting, which is exactly the same average he had last year. Flynn’s minutes have dropped to just 9.1 per game. Dalano Banton has jumped ahead of him in the rotation, and Nick Nurse often uses players like Siakam and Scottie Barnes as ball-handlers instead of Flynn.
Flynn’s name was mentioned in plenty of hypothetical trade proposals over the last few days, as the idea of giving him a fresh start and the Raptors a new bench piece appealed to many fans. Ultimately, Toronto held on to their struggling point guard, and Ujiri did so out of confidence in his abilities.
In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Ujiri said that the higher-ups in the organization “truly believe” that Flynn is going to eventually become the player they believe he will evolve into. Ujiri said that the Raptors are “very confident” in Flynn’s abilities as a point guard.
Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors believe in Malachi Flynn.
In his 22 minutes against the Houston Rockets, Flynn took advantage of Fred VanVleet’s departure by scoring eight points, pulling down five rebounds, and dishing out three assists. Sure, it was the lowly Rockets, but it’s nice to see Flynn make some shots every now and again.
Even if the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month we saw last April is more of an anomaly than the standard, Flynn can still carve out a role as an NBA backup. If his jump shot gets fixed, either through work with Raptors 905 or some consistent NBA minutes, Ujiri’s decision to draft him could be validated.
Flynn’s career in the NBA appears to be hanging on by a threat, as a second-round rookie who has problems as a shooter beat him out almost instantly in training camp. Flynn’s style of play might not mesh with what Nick Nurse and the Raptors want to do on offense.
However, at just 23 years old, Flynn has room to grow in the NBA. He needs to work on his efficiency and shot selection, but he’s got handles and a high defensive motor. He might be able to parlay that into a role with Toronto in 2022.