Photo credit: K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune
This year has been tough on everybody, but I couldn’t imagine someone has had a rougher time — on the Raptors at least — than Malachi Flynn.
Flynn, who was drafted 29th overall by the Raptors in the 2020 NBA Draft, has had the opposite of a story book start to his NBA career, from getting sick to having his dad go on a LaVar Ball-esque tirade on Facebook, I’m sure Flynn just wants this year to be over.
I mean… the last thing any NBA player wants is their father to start defending them on their team’s fan forums but I do understand the frustration coming from Mr. Flynn (and I will ignore that absurd comparison to Patrick Mahomes).
But his argument doesn’t hold a lot of weight. Rookies, especially late round draft picks, have to earn minutes and show their worth… my problem is that Malachi Flynn has barely had a chance to do so.
The rookie guard suited up for the Raptors 21 times before being sent to the G League in February – having played in 13 of those games and averaged only eight minutes. It was clear that he needed some confidence and some actual playing time under his belt so naturally he was assigned to the G League to play in their bubble.
That’s not a foreign concept for Toronto, who has been known for sending down players for development only for them to make positive impacts on the team later down the road.
So as a Raptors fan, seeing Flynn get sent down was encouraging knowing the likes of Chris Boucher, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam all made a name for themselves with the Raptors 905.
But then things started to go wrong for Malachi.
After only 6 game in the G League, where he averaged 20 points and six assists per game, Flynn was called back up only to be parked right on the bench.
This is where Mr. Flynn’s frustration is a little warranted. In his first game back in the NBA after dominating the G League, Malachi only played five minutes. The next game it was 14, but talk about playing with a guys emotions – I’m willing to bet that he would have preferred to stay in the G League and get his buckets, especially with no fluctuating pay scale this year (meaning his salary stays the same no matter what league he plays in).
But, if he was promised more minutes, he would have to wait as only two games back from being called up the rookie guard tested positive for COVID-19.
To Put It In Perspective
Malachi’s year has sucked.
He was drafted…
Played pretty well in the pre-season!
Then sent down to the G-League…
Then he got called back up!
Only to be benched again…
Then he tested positive for COVID-19…
Then his dad compared him to one of the greatest quarterbacks in football today.
All the while, missing the Raptors 905 playoff run to watch the depleted big boys rattle off seven losses in a row.
And to top it all off, Flynn has never even had a chance to feel love from a Toronto crowd. He hasn’t witnessed Jurassic Park in full force. The rookie guard has had to live in Florida.
Obviously, this is a year unlike any other, and if there is even one takeaway from this season, it’s that things can only get better for Malachi Flynn here on out.
(I am currently looking for a piece of wood to knock on)