How will Raptors handle Armoni Brooks-Malachi Flynn question?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: Armoni Brooks #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 16: Armoni Brooks #1 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors went from thin to alarmingly thin at guard when Malachi Flynn went down with a hamstring injury. After turning to 10-day signing Armoni Brooks, Toronto has been so pleased with his performance that he’s earned a new multi-year contract after just a handful of games.

Brooks has averaged 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game over the last four contests, hitting eight of his 19 3-point attempts while providing a tremendous defensive effort. This feel-good story has captivated Raptors fans of late, but Flynn has to be kicking himself over Brooks’ sudden rise.

Flynn was averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 assists per game after the All-Star break. His injury came at the most inopportune time, as Fred VanVleet is currently managing a knee injury that threatens to cause real problems.

The Raptors suddenly went from minimal depth behind VanVleet to too much depth, as Nick Nurse will need to figure out how to manage minutes for Brooks and Flynn. How Nurse decides to answer this question will have a big impact on Toronto’s rotation in the postseason.

How will the Toronto Raptors use Armoni Brooks and Malachi Flynn?

On one hand, Flynn was playing his best basketball of the season right before his injury. While he lacks Brooks’ shooting pedigree, he has started to become much more lethal in the paint as a finisher. Would it be fair to him or in the best interest of the rotation to cut into Flynn’s minutes?

On the other, Brooks has done nothing to warrant seeing his minutes cut. On top of the fact he’s started to hit more 3-pointers, he has exceeded even the most optimistic projections as a rebounder and defender. That combination of effort and surprising production has helped Brooks become a rotation player over the course of a week.

Why would you risk blunting his momentum?

The best solution, for the time being, could be more two-guard lineups with Flynn handling the ball and Brooks playing more like a traditional shooting guard. Even this can be a bit spiky, as it could involve taking players like VanVleet and OG Anunoby off the floor to accommodate both of them.

There is no easy answer when it comes to figuring out which of these two players is more worthy of playing time. Once the Raptors feel more secure in their playoff position, Nurse needs to do some experimentation and figure out what the right combination of minutes will look like.

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