The Toronto Raptors are going into the 2022-23 season with more playoff expectations and less time that can be devoted to the development of their young players. This might make it challenging for Malachi Flynn to show that he is finally going to evolve into the player Masai Ujiri thought he would be.
While the San Diego State product can light up amateurs on the pro-am circuit to the tune of 73 points, he’s found it hard to stand out in the Raptors’ rotation. Moments of talent have often been followed by poor shooting nights or injuries. Some fans may be at the end of their rope with No. 22.
Just when it seemed like the former Mountain West Player of the Year’s time in Toronto was starting to come to a close, Ujiri came out of nowhere and showed a commitment to Flynn through the 2023-24 season, at least nominally.
The Raptors have officially picked up the fourth-year option on Flynn, which signals one of two things. Either the Raptors are hoping that his fourth season in the league will be the year in which he finally has a sustained breakout, or they are making him a slightly more attractive trade chip.
The Toronto Raptors appear to be committed to Malachi Flynn.
In April of 2021, Flynn won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in the Tampa bubble while averaging over 13 points per game. That stint was so productive that Toronto has continued to keep him around in the hope of rediscovering what made him go wild in that stint.
Flynn’s minutes per game and points per game declined last season, as the arrival of Dalano Banton relegated him to the third point guard on the depth chart. With Banton coming off a very productive preseason, Malachi will likely be behind him once again to start the season.
Flynn needs to become a more efficient shooter to stick in this league, as he has not topped 39% from the field in either of his first two seasons. If the Raptors hit a developmental roadblock, that extra year of team control could make him a more attractive young trade chip for a rebuilding team.
Even if you still believe that Flynn can be a solid NBA player (which we do), his prospects are looking somewhat grim in Toronto. Still, the Raptors have him locked up for the next two seasons, showing that they are willing to put in the time to get him on the right track.
If it doesn’t work out, they can just flip him to another team for compensation.