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Malachi Flynn Talks New Opportunities With New Staff & Added Offseason Muscle

A new Toronto Raptors coaching staff means a fresh opportunity for Malachi Flynn who says he added five to seven pounds of muscle over the summer
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Malachi Flynn is saying all the right things when it comes to his relationship with the previous coaching staff for the Toronto Raptors.

He’s not dwelling on the past, he said calmly Monday following practice. It was, as he said, what it was.

But it’s hard not to think Flynn is more excited than he’s letting on. A new Raptors coaching staff this year means fresh eyes and maybe an opportunity for Flynn to get a bigger role this season. For so long, he'd been in the doghouse, unable to get playing time under former head coach Nick Nurse. Now, he’s already been slotted in as a backup point guard for Toronto in preseason, and, considering head coach Darko Rajaković is talking about playing 10 rotation players this year, Flynn has to be ecstatic.

“It’s definitely going to be fun,” said Flynn, again, trying not to show his excitement. “That’s definitely something to look forward to.”

Flynn said he spent the offseason trying to get bigger, a tough task for a player listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. He’s added five to seven pounds of “good weight,” he said, trying to bulk up after realizing how tough it is to play in the NBA against grown men.

“Definitely not jumping out the gym, never will be, but feeling a little bit stronger on defense, taking bumps a little better and little more explosive so it feels good,” he said of the change.

The change has caught the attention of Rajaković who has liked what he’s seen from Flynn through the preseason so far. The fourth-year guard had five assists in his first showing of the preseason, despite just one field goal on six attempts, and then added 10 points off the bench against Cairns on Sunday

“Malachi is somebody who I have a very high confidence in,” Rajaković said. “I think he's a player that he's not even close to maxing out. I think there is so much room for growth in his game on the ball and off the ball. I think he's really good off-ball coming as a secondary guy, coming off wide pindowns or second-side pick and rolls. I think he's somebody who can break down the defense pretty well and touch the paint. And we're just going to continue working on those skills with him, like finishing, finding the open man.”

Flynn said he’s taking confidence from an old teammate Kyle Lowry who once told him it can take a little while for point guards to find their footing in the NBA. It wasn’t until Lowry’s fifth year in the league, having already been traded once, that he averaged double-digit points and solidified himself as a valuable rotation player.

For Flynn, it’s a big year, as he acknowledged. He’s on the final year of his rookie deal and so far, save for an impressive April in his rookie season, he hasn’t proven much of anything at the NBA level. But with a new coaching staff and a roster still deprived of point guard depth, Flynn should have more opportunity than he’s had in the past. This time, he’ll have to seize it or his NBA days could be numbered.