What the Flynn is going on?

Malachi Flynn is finally succeeding as a Raptor in a normal, replicable way.

Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors have had great results with late draft picks. Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, Christian Koloko, and others have all been selected at either the end of the first round or the beginning-to-middle of the second round. The Raptors aren't guaranteed success -- look no further, of course, than Bruno Caboclo, chosen 20th. That's a spot that rarely results in an NBA career, but it's almost a surprise when a player selected under such circumstances by Raptors ends up walking the normal route out of the league.

Which brings us to Malachi Flynn.

Drafted 29th in 2020, Flynn still hasn't earned a consistent spot in the rotation from Nick Nurse. He averaged 19.7 minutes per game in his rookie season -- which seems consistent enough! -- until you realize that he averaged 3.1 minutes per game over the first 40 games of the season, when he was plagued by Did Not Play -- Coach's Decisions and simply being left off the active game roster. He did play in every game from 41 onward, but much of that game after the Raptors suffered a huge rash of injuries, as well as shutting players like Kyle Lowry down.

Flynn himself played great when he started, averaging 14.9 points and 5.5 assists per game in the 14 he didn't come off the bench. But there is cause for that. Starting point guards get to run pick and rolls and control the offense, and Flynn has always been better with more responsibilities. Of course, the Raptors lost a lot, and though it wasn't Flynn's fault, it served to show that Flynn was wrongfully placed as the ball-dominant guard for an NBA team. Yet when playing next to Toronto's more ball-dominant players, he has never found his niche. And he was never going to displace the stars. That paradoxical success in difficult circumstances and failure during easier ones has been the knock, leading to such inconsistency in his role and performance, until this past week.

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