Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors are officially in the middle of the most important stretch of the season. With a long homestand against beatable teams coming up, failing to perform well in these games could be enough to put the final nail in this team’s coffin as they chase a postseason spot.
What has become very apparent in the last few weeks, however, is the fact that this roster is going to look much different next season. On top of the fact that VanVleet, new acquisition Jakob Poeltl, and Gary Trent Jr. could all hit the open market, Masai Ujiri must be well aware of the fundamental flaws this team has from a roster construction point of view.
While the primary purpose of the next few games should be to compete for a postseason spot, Toronto must also use this stretch as a period of evaluation. They must find out which players will be around for the long haul and which can be tossed aside in a roster remake.
These four players could all be playing their final regular-season games with the Raptors in the next few weeks. As such, it is incumbent on Ujiri and Nick Nurse to figure out if their play during this stretch has earned consideration to be on next season’s team.
4 Toronto Raptors who are playing for their future.
4. Malachi Flynn
The Raptors have given Flynn three years worth of development, but nothing they have done has turned him into a player that will be expected to contribute much in the long term. Flynn will likely be playing somewhere else next season, barring the unforeseen.
Flynn’s 4.7 points per game and 37% success rate from the field are right on par with what his career averages have been to this point. That Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award is looking more like a flash in the pan than a sign he can be a high-end player.
Malachi Flynn may not be on the Toronto Raptors much longer.
The only chance Flynn has at getting back in Nick Nurse’s good graces is getting inserted back into the rotation (which is already unlikely) and showing efficiency that hasn’t been part of his game to this point. Even then, some might write it off as the product of a small sample size.
Flynn was viewed as a standout two-way player in the VanVleet or Kyle Lowry mold, but he lacked their penchant for clutch 3-point shooting and on-ball tenacity. He needs an act of God to stay on this team in an elevated role next season, and he is running out of time to prove his worth.