While the season has been disappointing overall for the Raptors, there have been some bright spots. Chief among them: the play of rookie point guard Malachi Flynn. It was announced this afternoon that Flynn has been named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April, which is no small thing considering he was drafted 29th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Over the past 30 days, Flynn appeared in 15 games for the Raptors — starting in eight of them. While the Raptors only went 8-7 in those contests, Flynn put up averages of 12.7 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game. He also shot 41 percent from three, which represents a nice jump from how he was initially shooting from deep (uh, considerably less than that). There was also his run of career-highs he set throughout the month — first via a 16-point night, then a 20-pointer, and then cracking that with 22 points vs. the Hawks. Along the way, Flynn also set his new personal best with 11 assists in a game against Cleveland.
For me, the most impressive night of Flynn’s month came in New York. Yes, the Raptors ultimately lost that game, and it was actually far from his best performance of the month, but to hear the rising inflection in broadcaster Mike Breen’s voice as Flynn seemed to be rising to the occasion out of nowhere was definitely cool. Yes, Flynn ultimately did falter and it didn’t quite work out for Toronto, but the rookie guard was out there doing what he could to keep his team in it. If nothing else, Flynn looks like he’ll be a gamer.
With this honour, Flynn becomes the ninth Raptor in franchise history to win Rookie of the Month honours — and the first since Jonas Valanciunas way back in 2013. Flynn joins some august company, including the likes of Marcus Camby, Vince Carter, and Jorge Garbajosa (and also Charlie Villanueva, Andrea Bargnani and Jamario Moon).
Here’s hoping this is the first of many awards Flynn secures for himself (and the Raptors) in a long NBA career.