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Heading into this season, the sophomore guard was looked at as the backup point guard but it hasn’t panned out that way. Does that fall on Raptors brass or Flynn? Follow Yahoo Sports Canada for all your Toronto Raptors coverage.
IMMAN ADAN: He, unfortunately, don't think he's going to have the highest grade. But can I get a projection-- what did you think about him coming into the season? Let's give him a grade first, and then we'll get into some Malachi Flynn talks.
ASAD ALVI: So I was, like, a really big Malachi Flynn guy last season. Like, especially the back half of the season when he finally started playing regular minutes, was given an opportunity. Like, he was shooting close to 40% from 3 to close the season out. And, like, he was, like, making big shots. And, like, you could see him take over fourth quarters or, like, Malachi Flynn just went on an 8-0 run by himself, right?
Like, we've seen him, like-- whether it was that game against the Hawks at the end of last season where basically him and Pascal--
IMMAN ADAN: There was a big Mavs game too.
ASAD ALVI: Him and Pascal single handedly got through the game where him and Jalen Harris almost beat the Mavs by themselves with literally no roster, right? And again, that was Tampa, so the expectations were a lot lower or whatnot.
But to see Malachi Flynn this season has been very disappointing. Like, I don't know what he's done in training camp. I think-- and Josh Lewenberg I think had mentioned this as well. Coming into training camp, the discussions that leadership had had with him and his agent was that the backup point-guard spot was his to lose, and then he lost it in training camp. So whatever he showed in training camp wasn't what the Raptors were looking for, and they have shifted kind of away from pick and roll style guards, and they want a different thing from their defenders where they want to be switchable and able to kind of press up.
But it's been a little bit difficult to see how much he struggled, especially with his shot, like the fact that he can't make a catch-- that he can't make the same shot twice in a row, and he's spraying left and right on his jumper and just, like, the lack of confidence, completely shook. It's kind of unfortunate because coming into the season it was like, oh, do you really want Goran Dragic to be soaking up 15 Malachi Flynn minutes, which-- and Malachi Flynn could be a leader of the bench unit.
And now it's like can Malachi Flynn even play more than two minutes in a game, and can you trust him to do it? Like, he's had one game where he had 14 points, and other than that in a stretch of time where a lot of the Raptors were out with COVID-- Malachi Flynn came back early. They counted on him for a few games, and he literally couldn't hit a shot.
So it's been very disappointing for Malachi. I'll give him a-- I'll give him a D minus.
IMMAN ADAN: OK. Now--
ASAD ALVI: I don't want to fail anybody, so I'll give them a D minus.
IMMAN ADAN: No, you know when you go to teachers, you're looking for a little extra credit. You're looking how you can do better in the next semester. If Malachi Flynn came over to you and said, what do I need to do? Because everyone will tell you that the Raptors just need more rotation guys. Especially another guard would be so useful for them, especially some more shooting, and you mentioned that we saw a shooting touch with him last season. So if Malachi came over to you and said, hey, teach-- is that what you call your teacher? What do I need to do better in the second half of the season to bump up my grade?
ASAD ALVI: Honestly, it's tough to say because he's had such-- like, when we watch, we're just watching what he does in the games, and, like, he's barely had any time in the games. So he just has to get, like-- and then he's also struggled when he's gone down to the G League. Like, he got benched in a G League fourth quarter a week or two ago. So, like, those are very, like, glaring, like, you know, sirens kind of going off. Like, what's going on with this guy?
So I think whether if it's a confidence issue, he just has to regain confidence. And whenever his next opportunity comes, if it comes-- like, if he is still on the team after the trade deadline-- like, that's not a given. If he's still here and he gets another shot, you just have to make the most of it, right?
Like, Fred VanVleet, we know him now as being, you know, like the leader of the team, but it was legitimately a question of whether Fred VanVleet was going to stay on the roster when the Raptors had Kyle, Cory Joseph, Delon Wright, and Fred made the most of his opportunity. When Cory and Delon were out, he came in and he just took that opportunity and ran with it, and that landed him a role on the team.
There was legitimate talk of, well, the Raptors have a lot of guards. Maybe they might cut someone for tax position or maybe they're trying to fill up on the wings instead. So they might cut Fred VanVleet, and that was a legitimate question. But Fred, you know, in that trial by fire, you know, he stuck it out. He bet on himself and made it.
And Malachi Flynn, you know, you compare him to Fred a lot. Well, this is kind of your moment where, you know, you've got a guaranteed--
IMMAN ADAN: Bet on yourself, buddy.
ASAD ALVI: --you've got a guaranteed rookie deal, but also, like, you could be traded very quickly off this team if you don't have a role. I do kind of feel for him because the role's not there, but, like, the next opportunity gets-- if he doesn't produce in that opportunity, I don't know how much more leash they really have for him, especially when, like, the role of backup point guard is kind of being split up with these big wings. And if he's not bringing anything else, like, I don't know. Like, the Raptors clearly need a shooter at the guard, and if he can't bring that, then they might just move on.