The Trail Blazers’ 2019-20 season is firmly in the rearview mirror and 2020 NBA Draft is now on the horizon. As of now, the draft is scheduled for November 18. Unlike last year, the Blazers enter the process with two picks at their disposal. Portland currently owns the No. 16 pick in the first round and the No. 46 pick in the second round.
Today’s profile looks at San Diego State point guard Malachi Flynn. The former Washington State lead guard might be on the board when the Blazers are on the clock in the second round.
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 185
- Wingspan: 6’3”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: PG
- Age: 22
- Projected draft range: 33-48
- PTS: 17.6 | Per 40: 21.1
- AST: 5.1 | Per 40: 6.1
- STL: 1.8 | Per 40: 2.1
- FG%: 44.1
- 3P%: 37.3
- FT%: 85.7
Flynn, who emerged from a dormant season following his transfer from Washington State, was an absolute force for San Diego State last season. Armed with excellent court vision and timing, the Tacoma-born guard blossomed into one of the best pick-and-roll operators in the entire country. Flynn is capable of making every pro-style pass and he routinely gets the ball to his teammates when they are in stride. When he isn’t getting his teammates involved, he is punishing defenders with his own pull-up shot. At the next level, thanks to his quick trigger off the dribble, Flynn should be able to generate open looks from outside of the paint.
Defensively, Flynn is a dedicated and relentless on-ball defender. He avoids fouls while getting inside his opponent’s jersey. Off the ball, the 22-year-old guard walks the line carefully. Flynn is capable of creating turnovers, but he rarely leaves his assignment unattended to do so.
Flynn’s impressive production and laundry list of intangibles are undeniable, but his physical profile does raise concerns. His frame and length limit his defensive versatility. It is easy to picture opposing teams hunting him down in order to create favorable matchups. Offensively, Flynn did not thrive when playing through contact. For a player that posted a high usage rate, Flynn did not get to the free throw line frequently.
It is also worth noting that Flynn does not possess a ton of experience as a catch-and-shoot operator. He has all the tools to thrive in a spot-up shooting role, but there could be a slight learning curve.
Flynn took the Mountain West by storm last season. With Flynn at the helm, the Aztecs opened the season with 26 consecutive victories. From a personal scoring standpoint, Flynn posted a season-high 36 points against Nevada to close out San Diego State’s conference schedule.
Individually, Flynn earned MWC Player of the Year and MWC Defensive Player of the Year honors. On the national level, he finished the year as a Wooden Award finalist.
It is tough to find a flaw in Flynn’s output from last season. His pick-and-roll chops are an ideal fit for any second unit in the NBA and he has the potential to push for a starting spot in the right situation. His limited size and the less-than-ideal level of competition he faced in college represent concerns, though. Even with those two aspects in mind, Flynn feels like a player that the Spurs would go after. If you are looking for talent in the second round, it isn’t a bad thing to put on your black-and-silver thinking cap.
Depending on how the Blazers utilize their pick in the first round, a proven commodity could balance out their draft-night haul. Flynn is definitely in that mold (solid floor, noted ceiling). Anfernee Simons’ development timeline could open the window for a proven, pure point guard to stick on Portland’s roster next season. Past this coming season, Flynn has the chops blossom into a pick-and-roll operator capable of taking the reins of Terry Stotts’ offense when Damian Lillard needs a break. Second-round selections are often a crap shoot, but Flynn looks like he poised to stick in the NBA.
Have a draft-related question? Send your draft mailbag questions to Steve Dewald at BEdgeSteve@gmail dot com.