The Toronto Raptors' decision to not add a more experienced backup point guard and let fourth-year guard Malachi Flynn try to finally break out was met with substantial criticism. Early in the year, Flynn's play was so poor that it looked as if Darko Rajakovic was going to sink the entire rotation.
Amid all of the noise and requests to finally part ways with him, Rajakovic has stuck by Flynn and offered words of encouragement for the former San Diego State star. While he hasn't been setting the world on fire, his play has given Toronto some much-needed stability.
In Toronto's wild 132-131 win against Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers, Flynn recorded 14 points on 6-8 shooting with five rebounds and two assists. Flynn was key in getting Toronto in a groove during a 41-point second quarter that helped keep them in the game against the league's best offense.
Flynn performed so well that he was the recipient of the Raptors' MVP/Win The Day chain at the end of the game, even after Pascal Siakam recorded 36 points and 10 rebounds in the back-and-forth contest. Rajakovic went out on a limb to support Flynn, and he's finally starting to see results.
Toronto Raptors' Malachi Flynn gets MVP chain in win vs. Pacers
Flynn is averaging 6.3 points and 2.4 assists per game this season, which is well above what he was doing in either of the last two years. Since the Dallas game, Flynn has bumped his scoring average up to 8.1 points per game. That's solid backup point guard production.
Not only is Flynn making 47% of his shots, but he's nailed 40% of his 3-pointers on 2.7 attempts per game. Efficiency was always the root of Flynn's problems in the Nick Nurse era, and Rajakovic has done an exceptional job of improving his performance in this area.
Flynn has quickly become one of the more indispensable players on this Toronto bench. Gradey Dick has been ice cold to start the season, Precious Achiuwa is still the same volatile player he always was, and Gary Trent Jr. has struggled mightily. Flynn went from an anchor to an uplifting force in record time.
The Raptors' bench issues won't be solved by Flynn finally looking like an NBA player, but fans have to like the fact that Rajakovic gambled heavily on No. 22's potential and came out of it looking like a genius after the last few weeks.