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The Toronto Raptors selected San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn with the 29th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft on Wednesday.
Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman’s Scouting Report
Player: Malachi Flynn
Weight: 185 lbs
Pro Comparison: Fred VanVleet
Scouting Report: Malachi Flynn seemed ready to fly up boards during the NCAA tournament, but the pandemic eliminated that opportunity. He now has steal-of-the-draft potential. Flynn isn’t an exciting athlete, but we’ve seen too many point guards excel without flashy tools or bounce, and he has the advanced ball skills, deep shooting range, IQ and pesky defense to overcome his physical limitations.
The 6’1″ guard averaged 17.6 points on 44.1 percent shooting (37.3 percent from three-point range), 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds in his junior year for the 2019-20 San Diego State Aztecs, who went 26-0 before finishing their season 30-2.
Here’s a look at where Flynn may fall on his new team’s depth chart, as well as news and notes on his NBA prospects.
Raptors Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)
Pascal Siakam, PF: $32.5M (2024)
Kyle Lowry, PG: $30.5M (2021)
Norman Powell, SG: $10.5M (2022)
Patrick McCaw, SG: $4M (2021)
Stanley Johnson, SF: $3.7M (2021)
OG Anunoby, SF: $2.4M (2021)
Matt Thomas, G: $1.4M (2022)
Terence Davis, SG: $1.2M (2021)
Malachi Flynn, PG: Rookie scale contract (2024)
Chris Boucher, PF: RFA
Dewan Hernandez, C: RFA
Fred VanVleet, PG: UFA
Malcolm Miller, SF: RFA
Marc Gasol, C: UFA
Oshae Brissett, PF: RFA
Paul Watson, G: RFA
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF: UFA
Serge Ibaka, PF: UFA
Wasserman offered the following write-up about Flynn on Oct. 27 when placing him 20th on his big board:
“The conversation around Flynn seems to be changing, with more scouts thinking he could be picked in the first round. I have him in the top 20 and am unafraid about his limited size and athleticism. His pick-and-roll play could be the best in the class, while his three-point shooting and pesky defense help paint him as a complete point guard.”
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony listed the 2019-20 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year 31st overall on his big board.
Head coach Brian Dutcher also sang Flynn’s praises to Givony:
“When he arrived on campus, we knew he was a uniquely talented basketball player. What we quickly learned was that he had an intense work ethic and a team-first mentality, which endeared him to his teammates and the community.”
Zach Milner of The Stepien believes that Flynn’s best-case pro scenario is as a starter.
“Starter who can play on the ball and create for himself and others out of the PnR or play off the ball and spot up / run off screens,” Milner wrote. “Added strength helps him become a positive defender, even while being a smaller guard.”
Flynn may compare best to Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who is also a tough two-way guard that shined for a very successful mid-major school (Wichita State). They can also both shoot from the outside, helping add to their versatile skill sets.
Flynn notably mentioned VanVleet to Givony when discussing players he studies. He pointed out that his relative lack of athleticism meant he “needed to learn to find other ways to score, be pesky defensively and do the little things,” noting that’s the reason he studies “a lot of film on guys like Chris Paul and Fred VanVleet to see how they are able to carve out a niche in the NBA.”
VanVleet became a starter on an NBA championship-winning team in his fourth NBA season and dominated in the 2019 NBA Finals. It’s not impossible to see Flynn “carve out a niche” like VanVleet’s.
Oddly enough, Flynn may replace VanVleet in the Raptors’ rotation. The unrestricted free agent should be a hot commodity when the negotiating period officially opens Friday, although Raptors general manager Bobby Webster told reporters he “fully expects” him to re-sign with the team.
If VanVleet does leave, then Flynn could end up filling VanVleet’s old role admirably as the Raptors look to contend for the NBA Finals crown once again.read more
Malachi Flynn’s Draft Scouting Report: Pro Comparison, Updated Raptors Roster
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