Fred VanVleet resting opens door for Malachi Flynn to prove himself

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 01: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 01: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors have officially clinched a playoff spot after taking down the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night, meaning that stars like Fred VanVleet can get some much-needed rest. As a byproduct of that, bench standouts like Malachi Flynn could stand to get some extra minutes.

VanVleet may have been just one game removed from outplaying Kyle Lowry in his Toronto return, but anytime a player of his caliber shoots 4-21 from the field, it’s clear something is not 100% right physically. He needs a game or two of rest and relaxation before the postseason.

After the win, Nick Nurse said that the Raptors were going to get VanVleet “off his feet here for a couple days.” With Nurse confirming that VanVleet is going to get some days off, that leaves the now healthy Flynn as one of the most likely candidates to earn a starting spot.

Two years into his Raptors tenure, Flynn is still fighting for minutes after failing to take the leap many expected. Just when he was starting to get into a groove, he fell victim to a hamstring injury. These next few games without VanVleet will be pivotal when it comes to establishing himself as a viable NBA rotation player

Malachi Flynn could put on a show for the Toronto Raptors.

Flynn was averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 assists per game in the second half before a hamstring ailment forced him to the sideline. Those numbers aren’t that far off from what he averaged when he won an Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award last season.

Even though Armoni Brooks won himself an NBA contract for next season on the back of a strong 10-day contract performance, Flynn appears to be ahead of him in the rotation. Given Flynn’s draft status and more refined offensive skills, Nurse will likely lean on him over Dalano Banton. That said, Flynn is running out of time to prove himself.

The Raptors will have a nice chunk of money to spend with Chris Boucher and Thad Young coming off of the books, and they could allocate some of those resources towards getting a better point guard. The Raptors need to let Flynn dominate the ball, as it will help them get a clear picture of Flynn’s viability as a backup point guard.

In the right situation, we’ve seen Flynn thrive. He just hasn’t put all the pieces together as consistently as the Raptors or their fanbase would have liked. If VanVleet is going to sit out a few games, this could be the perfect chance for Flynn to show everyone what he’s made of.

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