Did Malachi Flynn secure a Raptors rotation spot in 2023 preseason?

Oct 17, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn (22) Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 17, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn (22) Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors are still very far away from solidifying their rotation to start the season under Darko Rajakovic. Still, with some of the eventual mainstays starting to sink their hooks into Rajakovic’s 10-man combination, Malachi Flynn’s status remains undetermined.

Rather than get rid of the former first-round pick in the name of letting him start fresh, Toronto chose to hold on to him in a show of support. Even though Jeff Dowtin is in town, it appears as though the non-guaranteed player is clearly taking a backseat to Flynn in the early stages of the preseason.

Flynn has reportedly put on five to seven pounds of extra weight, and he looks more confident as a result. Flynn was attacking on the offensive end against the Sacramento Kings and Cairns Taipans before finding ways to contribute on offense without his shot falling against the Chicago Bulls.

Flynn has called the addition of Rajakovic a “reset” he thinks could benefit him. Based on how the early stages of the preseason have gone, Flynn appears to have kicked Dowtin aside and asserted himself as a rotation fixture.

Will Malachi Flynn be in the 2023 Toronto Raptors rotation?

While Toronto as a whole underperformed on offense last year, much of the optimism surrounding their expected performance in 2023 stems from the fact that Rajakovic is regarded as a fairly innovative offensive mind. Nurse, on the other hand, saw his half-court sets become outdated in record time.

Flynn has had problems in his career with shot selection and efficiency, but no one can deny the talent he is working with. Tyus Jones evolved into a tremendous backup point guard on Rajakovic’s Memphis Grizzlies despite lacking elite physical tools, giving him a blueprint with which he can fix Flynn.

While Dowtin overtook Flynn last year in the rotation, the San Diego State product remains the superior offensive player and 3-point shooter. If Flynn has fixed any lingering issues related to either effort or on-ball defense, which Rajakovic seems to believe he has, why can’t he become a breakout star?

Toronto is putting a lot on Flynn’s plate, but this boost of confidence could be what he needs. With a coach willing to let him play through his mistakes in a scheme that will give him more opportunities to shine as a scorer, Flynn has a better pathway to success this season.