Malachi Flynn has quickly become Raptors’ most important role player

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 21: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors appeared to be so bereft of playmakers in the rotation that Nick Nurse turned back to former first-round draft pick Malachi Flynn in the hope of getting a spark. Considering how the early returns have looked, putting him back in the squad seems to have been a solid decision.

Flynn may be shooting 39% from the field in his last five games, but he is making 43% of his 3-pointers on just under six attempts per game. Flynn, who has averaged 10.2 points and 2.2 assists per game in his previous five contests, has drilled an insane 46% of his 3-pointers on the year.

Between playing 37 minutes against the Warriors, playing some excellent defense in crunch time against the Knicks, and making life hell for Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers’ backcourt, there have been plenty of showstopping moments that the former Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month can hang his hat on.

While his rookie year may have featured the longest sustained stretch of high-level scoring from the San Diego State product, Flynn has changed his game so much that he has quickly become indispensable. His resurgence has made him a player that Toronto can’t drop from the rotation.

The Toronto Raptors have found a role for Malachi Flynn.

For the last two seasons, the Raptors have been trying and failing to find a suitable backup point guard for Fred VanVleet. While Nick Nurse has seemed inclined to let gangly defense-minded Dalano Banton get some run, he’s since reverted to the smaller, more dynamic Flynn.

The two things that Toronto’s roster lacks right now in spades are on-ball creativity that leads to shot creation and excellent 3-point shooting. It just so happens that Flynn excels in both of those areas. Toronto’s scheme is often not conducive to a player with his skills and mindset on the court, but Nurse has made it work lately.

The Raptors could have easily let Flynn go in the offseason, but they brought him back and picked up his option with the expectation that he would keep improving his game. Now that his shooting has taken a step forward, Flynn will play a vital role in giving juice to one of the worst benches in the league.

Flynn has been struggling to find any sort of consistent role in Toronto, as his playing time seems to evaporate at the slightest mistake. With his importance on this team firmly established due to his vastly improved jumper, Flynn might carve out a long-term role with the Raptors.

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