Main Scouting Report
Malachi Flynn was an under the radar NBA prospect prior to his junior season at San Diego State before he led the Aztecs to their best season since a man named Kawhi Leonard was on campus. Flynn was an offensive maestro this year, averaging 17.6 points and 5.1 assists a game while shooting 44% from the field and 37% from deep. Flynn proved himself as a capable shooter and electric playmaker due to his court vision and passing ability.
Flynn is projected to be a fringe first-round pick amongst a large group of other point guards, but his efficiency as a shooter and passing should make him a hot commodity in that range of the draft. Flynn is a good enough defender to guard multiple wing positions and hold his own and will not be played off the court at the reserve level, where he will most likely be for the beginning of his career.
Flynn was the Mountain West Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year for 2020, showing his prowess as a 2-way point guard. He was a 2nd Team All-American and a Wooden Award Finalist as well, showing he is one of the most polished players entering the draft from college. He has the potential to be a player that has an instant impact at the next level because of that. Also, he has the ball-handling and shooting ability to stick on the court on the offensive end in any offensive scheme, and he will stick on his man on the other end. He will be selected by a rebuilding team at the top of the second round if I had to guess, where he is given a legitimate shot to run the 2nd unit.
When we talk about Malachi Flynn’s game, we have to start with his ability to be a true 2-way player at the point guard position. Unlike Payton Pritchard or Cassius Winston who are elite playmakers but struggle on defense, Flynn will be a defensive leader capable of guarding the best player on the court. He won both Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in his Conference, showing the dominance he can have on both ends of the court. His 27.2 PER from this past season is a prime example of the footprint Flynn had in San Diego State’s games last year.
On offense, Flynn is a fundamentally sound point guard who predicates his game around limiting turnovers and taking smart shots. Flynn had a 2.84 assist to turnover ratio last season, top 10 in the country, while also shooting 37% from deep, above league average in the NBA. He does not have the isolation game to take games over single-handedly, but he will run an offense to perfection and make the necessary passes and shots for the team. He will provide excellent value off the bench because of that
Flynn’s biggest weaknesses as a player are unfortunately out of control and will never change. Malachi is quite old at 22 for a rookie and that will hurt his draft stock. Players like Jaren Jackson, Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, and Collin Sexton are younger than Flynn and are already proven starters at the next level. Also, Flynn’s size and athletic ability are lacking compared to the other guards in the NBA currently. He is two inches shorter than the average point guard at 6’2 and is not quick laterally. He might have struggles adjusting to guarding NBA players because of this gap between him and his opponents.
Also, Flynn needs to improve his ability to finish around the rim to round out his offensive game. Flynn can get to the paint when he wants but mainly sticks to a floater as his main finish because he is not comfortable finishing with contact or around bigger players. He must get stronger and develop a stronger layup package, in order to get to the free-throw line more often and make him more versatile as an offensive player. He can’t control his size or athleticism, but he can control his offensive tools, and he can still craft quite a few more to make him better going forward.
At the very least, Malachi Flynn will be given an opportunity as a backup point guard because of his ability as a shooter and as a defensive player. I think Flynn will seize the opportunity and flourish as a reserve point guard, but will never take that next step into a legitimate starting option at point guard. I think he will be like Tyus Jones, a capable backup point guard that is solid in all areas and will be a net positive but will not be the player that will be a game-changer for the franchise.
If Flynn can become an elite shooter or develop a deeper bag on offense, there is a chance where he could thrive in a secondary ball-handler role, similar to Fred VanVleet for Toronto the past two years. They have a similar skillset and size, but Flynn needs to become the shooter that VanVleet is currently to get that opportunity.
Flynn has been projected as high as 25 and as low as 55 throughout this draft process by various NBA draft experts. I am a Flynn believer and think he will stick wherever he lands, and teams should be eager to take him for the backup point guard role if they need him. I think the Memphis Grizzlies will take him with the 40th pick if given the opportunity. He will go in the 30-40 range, with a possibility of jumping into the first round.
Malachi Flynn is the type of young player that can be a great role player on a playoff team immediately, and will most likely be selected by a team with that intention in mind. He could be a great role player for a lot of the teams in the playoffs now and could be the missing piece for a team’s bench going forward. I think the Bucks, Celtics, and Lakers will all be interested in Flynn at the end of the first round.
Basketball IQ: 9
Malachi Flynn has great vision as a lead guard and stayed on the court and played good defense.
Flynn was a 3-year leader and a captain in college even after transferring.
Flynn is an average athlete which is a detriment due to his size.
His potential as a player is a top reserve point guard at the next level.
Flynn was a good shooter in college on a strong shot selection.
Flynn is a strong passer in pick and roll and driving situations and is great at creating something out of nothing.
Flynn has a tight handle that he uses to create space to shoot.
He was an above average rebounder as a guard.
Flynn played most of his games last year and led his team in minutes played.
Flynn is a solid 2-way point guard, and won Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
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