The Toronto Raptors were able to fill most of their holes in free agency, but they did not change much when it comes to getting an extra point guard behind Fred VanVleet. Toronto appears content to run it back with names like Malachi Flynn and Dalano Banton on the second unit.
While VanVleet was doing heroic stiff as he shouldered a very tough scoring load last year, his body started to betray him later in the season. Considering his struggles with managing a nagging knee injury, his workload was often cited as one of the reasons he started to gradually slip near the end.
Toronto might be more committed to the “anyone can play anywhere” philosophy than any other team in the league, but the security that comes with having a backup point guard that can handle these duties will only make things easier when the calendar flips to April.
As it stands right now, the Raptors have a handful of options they could use to make sure VanVleet has adequate depth behind him. If they don’t make any massive changes, expect Toronto to use one of these three backups as VanVleet’s chief deputy in the rotation.
3 ways the Toronto Raptors can back up Fred VanVleet.
3. Leaning on Malachi Flynn
We’ve gone over the supposed demise of Flynn before, especially considering some of the standout performances we’ve seen in Summer League. However, with Toronto apparently making no immediate effort to move him in a trade, it appears he will have a role to play in his third NBA season.
Flynn went from scoring 7.5 points per game to a puny 4.3 per contest. While he showed some improved defensive hustle, that likely won’t be enough to make up for some very poor showings on offense. There’s reason to believe 2022-23 could be his last chance.
Toronto Raptors: Malachi Flynn will try to get back on track.
Flynn has a Rookie of the Month trophy on his belt, so there is some talent there waiting to be unearthed in the right system. Flynn has too much raw talent to just give up on in the eyes of some optimists, but Nick Nurse needs to start seeing results.
At his best, Flynn brings a dynamic nature and sizzle to the game that is admirable. If this is finally going to be the year where the San Diego State product eventually learns to stick, he must show a commitment toward being efficient at the rim without sacrificing his defensive hustle.