Any sort of momentum Darko Rajakovic and the Toronto Raptors picked up on the offensive side of the ball during his first career win on Wednesday night dissipated during their matchup with old friend DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls. This was a 2005 throwback, and not the good kind.
After starting off the game on a 16-4 run, Toronto saw the Bulls go on a 38-7 run in a first half that saw Toronto go 2-19 from 3-point range with 11 turnovers and no players making it to double figures. All of the worst parts from last season were on full display in a sickening first-half performance.
Flynn only played four minutes, yes, but his -14 showing in that helped open the floodgates and unleash a run that was up there with the worst stretches of basketball in Raptors history. Rajakovic had to mix and match on the fly, which ultimately ended up in a 104-103 loss that was as nauseating as can be.
One indisputable truth that has come to light as a result of this game is the fact that Flynn is not an NBA-caliber player at this point, and he needs to be replaced ASAP in the rotation. Chris Boucher, who gave this team the energy they were lacking until he checked in, must play going forward.
Malachi Flynn must be removed from the Toronto Raptors’ rotation.
The entire bench (except for Boucher, who was excellent) was poor in this game. Gary Trent Jr. continued his subpar start to the season before some clutch fourth-quarter makes, RFA-to-be Precious Achiuwa looked like he never played basketball before, and Jalen McDaniels continued to struggle on the offensive end. The head of this proverbial snake, however, is Flynn and his poor play.
What makes Flynn’s struggles even harder to stomach than the rest of the squad’s issues is the fact that there is no alternative to take him out of the lineup. With Jeff Dowtin released and two-way guard Markquis Nowell not ready for full-time work at the NBA level, Flynn has been thrust out there with no safety net.
This leaves Rajakovic in a pickle. He must either keep throwing Flynn out there with the hope he will eventually figure out how to perform at an NBA level or roll with no true backup point guard. How Rajakovic and Masai Ujiri address this could have a tremendous impact on the rotation.
Star players like Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam will get their shots and points up, but players like Flynn need to support them if Toronto is to make it through 82 games successfully. Scottie and Pascal going Super Saiyan can win individual games, but counting on that every night isn’t the basis of a successful campaign.