Malachi Flynn enters third Raptors season facing increased pressure

Malachi Flynn wasn't able to crack the Raptors' rotation consistently last season and if history repeats itself, the point guard could face an uncertain NBA future. Full podcast looking at most improved candidates and game-changing skill additions is on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed and on our YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: There is a stigma around his name. And whether we think it's fair, whether we think it's unjustified, whatever, there is a stigma. And right now, to an NBA front office, they're gonna be like, huh, he couldn't even be backup point guard on the Raptors. How is he gonna be a backup point guard for us?

They decide they're gonna go this route with these other guys-- Pascal, Scottie-- even though that was, like, part of the engine that they were trying to make. But they're thinking that he wasn't even good enough to be a rotation player on the Toronto Raptors when they lacked guard depth. And if this season doesn't go according to plan, it could be really messy for Malachi Flynn.

I'm not gonna project this or that. I'm just saying this is a really big year for him, for what he desires to be in the NBA, and how long his career is gonna be. At this stage, he's 24 years old. Unfortunately, the way it goes is that you kind of get defined a little bit with what you're gonna be.


AMIT MANN: There's a ceiling to how much you're gonna be able to do within an offense, even as a backup point guard. Are you gonna be a person that's gonna be allowed to, you know, shake and bake a little bit, as he was able to do a little bit this past season? Is he gonna be given those kinds of reps? Or is he gonna be told by a coach, that's not what you're here for, on a different team, or whatever? Like, these are the kind of things that come up.

And for him, he just has to be like, he has to nail this. That's kind of what it is. He has to nail every aspect of this season coming up. When he gets his opportunity early on in the season-- Nick Nurse, he tends to give everyone a fair shot early on. Then he kind of [CLICKS] weeds it down.

In the words of the great Tom Brady, he can't bleep it up. When you get your opportunity, he cannot mess this up. He has to be able to be a rotation player with the Toronto Raptors.

And I know I just talked about Dalano Banton. So now between Banton and Malachi Flynn, we're talking 11 players, maybe. Who knows? But he cannot-- he cannot mess this up now. This is like high stakes. This is like your NBA career kind of.

And this is year three for him. He obviously has, like, some self-generation abilities with the basketball. He clearly has some on-ball talent as a defender. Everything has to come together, kind of, for him in year three. I'm not saying he's gonna be defined as a player.

But everything has to become consistent to a T, game by game, night by night, practice by practice. Otherwise, I'm not sure where this is gonna go for Malachi after this season if he's not a rotation piece on the Raptors, assuming he is with the Toronto Raptors at the end of the season.

KATIE HEINDL: Yeah, it sucks. I mean, you know, he is someone that, yeah, you and I have talked about at length.


KATIE HEINDL: And we've kind of, I think, outlined what's been unfair about his career. And again, just like where he hasn't necessarily gotten the opportunities that other, you know, other rookies in his class or even like his teammates currently on the Raptors have gotten.

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

KATIE HEINDL: Some of that is by virtue of just the world and things were very much--


KATIE HEINDL: --out of his control.


KATIE HEINDL: But when, you know, I do go back and think of someone we talked about earlier like OG Anunoby-- who also hasn't had, necessarily, the fairest deal, but has learned to adapt and make the most out of those situations-- that's something where I worry about Malachi Flynn because I haven't-- we haven't, necessarily, yet. And again, we only see so much. Like, we're not there behind the scenes. But we haven't really seen him kind of step into and make the most of the opportunities he's been afforded yet.

I think he did a great thing going out this summer and kind of showing up the way that he did. Because honestly, to some people, they were, probably, were like, oh, I kind of gave up on him. I didn't think he could--

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

KATIE HEINDL: --even play basketball anymore.


KATIE HEINDL: Obviously, he can.


KATIE HEINDL: He's in the NBA.


KATIE HEINDL: He's an incredibly skilled athlete. But he's got to continue to just take these opportunities he gets, whatever minutes that kind of come out of this season, as you said. Because this is gonna be like a pretty, like, yeah, pretty important, I think, year in his career. Because you're right. Like, some of that is due to the fact that, yeah, your third year. OK. It's like, what can you kind of bring? What have you done so far?


KATIE HEINDL: But it's also just because careers are so short, right?

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

KATIE HEINDL: Like, we are so lucky now, I think, in this era of the NBA that we see a lot of guys stay around for a long time because they're, you know, they're taking care of themselves in ways that--


KATIE HEINDL: --no other kind of generation before them could. They're making really smart moves in their career. They're kind of learning to be more versatile.

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

KATIE HEINDL: Like, more guys kind of looking to add skills, season over season, to become a role player if they need to. But that is still like the exception more than the norm. The norm is still, I think, three-to-five-year average career in the NBA.

And, you know, I worry for an athlete like Malachi Flynn in that situation, you know? This is like-- these are elite athletes. And there's only so much room to stick around when you've got the next rookie class, season over season, banging--


KATIE HEINDL: --on the door.