If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
It's the motto the Toronto Raptors appeared to go with Wednesday night, selecting Malachi Flynn with the 29th pick in the NBA Draft.
After finding success with older, undersized guards in the past, the Raptors went right back to the well, taking the 22-year-old, 6-foot-1 prospect from San Diego State.
"He’s a serious kid, he’s professional, he’s about the hard work, he’s about winning, so I think those would be the national comparisons," Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said of the comparisons to Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry. "I think, obviously, even he’ll probably say he’ll have a long way to go to do what those guys have done, but clearly, things that we value in guys that we’re bringing in."
Flynn averaged a team-leading 17.6 points on 44% shooting and 37.3% 3-point shooting with 5.1 assists. He was ranked the 28th prospect on Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo and was someone the Raptors say they were zeroed in on.
"A lot of the things that you guys know we like in our players, he checked a lot of those boxes," Webster said. "Ultimately we got the guy we wanted, so we feel lucky in that sense."
After two seasons at Washington State, Flynn transferred to SDSU where he led the Aztec's three-guard offence.
"Malachi is the kind of guy who could have averaged 30 points a game in college," SDSU assistant coach Chris Acker said.
Those offensive skills were clear to the Raptors immediately.
"He’s a modern NBA point guard," Webster said. "I think he can do it all on the offensive end. A lot of people are going to talk about pick-and-roll, shooting off the dribble, shoots the 3-ball well, obviously defends at a high level as well."
No Raptors prospect would truly be a Raptors prospect without playing both sides of the ball and Flynn certainly fits the bill there. He earned the Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Year award, helping to lead the nation's third-ranked defence for the Aztecs.
"He understood that making others better on the court and that he needed to make winning plays for us to be successful," Acker said. "The willingness to lock in on scouting reports and lock in on utilizing his quickness and his God-given talents to really cause havoc on the defensive end, I think was just unbelievable to watch him do that last year."
With VanVleet heading into free agency and Lowry entering age-34 season and the final year of his contract, Flynn fills a potential need for Toronto either this year or next. He'll likely be tasked with helping to lead the second unit for Toronto in his rookie season and if he finds success there, he will certainly be asked to take on a bigger role down the road.
"He’s just a guy we really liked and can come in and play a little bit for us but also develop under the leadership of Kyle and Fred," Webster said.
If Flynn can follow in the footsteps of his fellow guards and draft comparisons, he will have no problem fitting in in Toronto.
"He's a blue-collar guy," Acker said. "I think people are gonna really really fall in love with him."