Malachi Flynn Scouting Report by Alex Brown

Malachi Flynn Scouting Report

By: Alex Brown @AhbAnalytics

With insight Via InStat


Player Profile

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Age: 22.37 Years – May 10th 1998. RS Jr.

Measurements: 6’1, 185 lbs, 6’3 wingspan.

Injury Report: No Significant Injury Information Available.

Personality: Competitive and engaged, Flynn is a guy you will really like to have on your team. He has a killer instinct, wants to win, and has high self-confidence.

“When he arrived on campus, we knew he was a uniquely talented basketball player,” [Coach] Dutcher said. “What we quickly learned was that he had an intense work ethic and a team-first mentality, which endeared him to his teammates and the community.”

Via Jonathon Givony at https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/29049281/san-diego-state-malachi-flynn-entering-nba-draft

Athleticism: Malachi is quick, coordinated, and “controlled” shifty. He also moves quite well laterally and has a quick first step. He does not offer much as a vertical athlete, but has the ability to finish over the rim in space (though very seldom employed).

Projected Primary Roles: P&R Initiator & Scorer – Off-Ball Perimeter Creator – Guard Defender On Ball, Positive Off Ball Defender

Projected Draft Landing: Late First – Early Second

Statistical Profile: (+34.2 Net Rtg this year – 124.5/90.3)

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Via https://www.barttorvik.com/playerstat.php?year=2020&p=Malachi%20Flynn&t=San%20Diego%20St.

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Career Projections:

  • High: High Rotation – Spot Starter
    • The optimal outcome for Flynn’s career would see him being a high rotation/starting guard that provides value on & off the ball on both ends. This manifests through excellent shooting numbers from deep, continued success in P&R & iso play, finishing augmentations, and added strength. He will face limitations due to his size, but he competes hard enough to mitigate it quite a bit (especially defensively). He is a guy that would thrive alongside another initiator, as Flynn could take on ball reps in P&R and create for himself off the ball (especially alongside a jumbo initiator – Luka, Simmons, LeBron, etc). He is also playable in big moments due to that competitive fire, engagement, and IQ.
  • Medium: MidHigh Rotation
    • I believe that it is very safe to project Flynn as a quality role player. He has almost all of the skills you could ask for in a mid-high rotation guard, and should continue to excel as a P&R BH and off-ball threat. He will face limitations due to his size, but he competes hard enough to mitigate it quite a bit (especially defensively). His lack of contact finishing and 2nd/3rd level advantage creation limits his versatility (should no improvements be made), but it is not integral for him to stick in the league. If he improves on it though, you are looking at extraordinarily valuable return for his draft range (see high outcome).
  • Low: Mid Rotation
    • It is hard for me to see Flynn becoming anything less than a mid rotation guard. His shooting, P&R value, effort, and IQ are sure to stick him in the league for a long time. Anyone who can thrive in P&R heavy settings has a place in the NBA, and when you are as well rounded as Flynn, well, you’ll stick. His hindrances will continue to be finishing through contact & his size, but he has enough valuable tools to be around for a long time.

Offense

Strengths

  • Pick and Roll Offense: Ranking in the 96th percentile as a P&R ball handler, Malachi showed he could create advantages at volume in the P&R. His expertise here is pretty logical considering his high feel, BBIQ, shooting versatility, footwork, and passing skills. You cannot go under Malachi at all either, and defenders should be hesitant to drop on Flynn due to his ability to comfortably get to that pull-up. This is pretty valuable, especially considering the high usage of drop coverage in the NBA.
    • Playmaking – Roll Man: While Malachi does not make a ton of advanced pick and roll reads compared to the other top initiators in this class, he is quite creative when it comes to hitting the roller. He can employ either hand off a live dribble, deceive defenders with his eyes, and hit that pocket pass consistently.
  • Range Shooting Package: Malachi is about as versatile of a shooter as you could ask for at the 1 spot. He can beat you off his pull-up or spot-up, can create for himself from deep, or just beat you off movement. That type of versatility is rare and obviously valuable. Plus, he is super confident in his shot, misses do not derail him at all. Total shooter’s mentality. Coaches, you can basically do whatever you want with Malachi as a shooter. The amount of potential advantages to create with Flynn on the perimeter will be so fun to work with.
    • Shooting – Pull-Up: Malachi has no issues getting to his pull-up from deep or mid range. He is a threat to pull up from deep as the P&R BH, from a standstill, or simply off the dribble. His ability to get on balance quickly with proper footwork lets him stop on a dime too, which is super valuable. It helps mitigate some of his lacking finishing value, especially when he can stop on a dime and bury mid range shots. This makes him quite a problem for opposing defenses in P&R. Great P&R operators need this type of pull-up touch and confidence to be elite, and Malachi has it.
    • Shooting – Spot-Up: Malachi provides spot up value due to his confidence, consistent balance, touch, off-ball relocations, and execution (40% on C&S 3’s according to InStat’s sample). He is comfortable playing off the ball.
    • Shooting – Self-Creation Flashes: Having a strong pull-up & floater naturally gives guards a great tool to work with when creating for themselves. On top of having this tool, Flynn has shown that he can generate space for himself on the perimeter as well. He can get to a step-back, side step, employ effective hesitations, or just work opposing defenders off the dribble in order to get to that pull-up. While I wouldn’t be asking Flynn to be a primary creator from deep, the fact that he has that base to work with is pretty enticing. In isolations, he shot a serviceable 10/29 from 3 per InStat.
    • Shooting – Off-Ball Movement: Malachi can create for himself off the ball at a level that makes me comfortable placing him off the ball in many scenarios where he isn’t acting as the initiator. He moves really well off the ball, has excellent perimeter relocation skills, and can shoot off screens at a high level. Furthermore, he gets himself balanced really quickly off the catch. His ability to stop on balance should not be overlooked on or off the ball.
  • Playmaking: Malachi is a strong playmaker that can make plus reads and react correctly to defensive sets. While he is not on the level of the top playmakers in the class (Hayes, Ball), he is firmly in the second tier in my eyes. His 2.83:1 AST:TO ratio (on 26.8% usage) supports this. He is hindered a bit by his size as a playmaker, as he has to take extra care when attempting to pass over nearby defenders or skip it. This can take an extra second or so that will not be needed with Ball or Hayes, but that is really nitpicking. In general, he will be a solid playmaker.
    • Tight, Ambidextrous Handle: I really like Malachi’s handle. He is comfortable with both hands and does a really good job of protecting the ball. He can chain together some solid dribble combinations and comfortably employ the necessary moves needed to create advantages off the dribble (especially going left). His handle also complements his initial burst and pull-up threat quite well.
  • Off-Hand Finishing Execution: Malachi often looked quite comfortable finishing with his left hand, making 24/38 around the restricted area (8/11 as P&R BH). The off-hand touch and finishing rhythm are there. At times he just looked better with his off hand.

Improvement Areas

  • Rim Pressure: Malachi does not possess physical tools that would suggest plus finishing at the NBA level. His lacking length & strength can naturally get him exposed when slashing, and his propensity to struggle with contact is worrying. Despite his solid burst and tight handle, I worry he will not be able to put a lot of pressure on the rim outside of attacking closeouts and as the P&R BH. Despite the strong Barto numbers (68.2% at the rim with 15% assisted), Malachi should not be expected to be a volume drive creator. He will pick his spots well though, especially in P&R.
    • Second & Third Level Struggles: After the initial advantage is created (either off the dribble, attacking a closeout, or in P&R BH scenarios), Malachi can struggle on the subsequent levels. To be clear on my wording, second level indicates the area between the initial advantage created and when the ball is gathered, while third level indicates once the ball is gathered in preparation for the finish. I found that Malachi could struggle without room to operate in these areas, and was quite often unable to create advantages on these levels. He did not consistently employ the necessary counters against length, drop bigs, or when contact was probable. He settled for runners, floaters, and contact averse finishes more often then I would like. I do not expect him to be a great drive creator right away, as he will need time to get comfortable through contact.
    • Finishing Through Contact: Malachi can struggle to finish through contact naturally due to his size. His touch does not make up for it often, and he does not have the best sense for exploiting contact to get to the line (.336 Ftr). That is one developmental focus I would have regarding player development.

Defense

Strengths

  • Engagement & Effort: I love how Flynn makes an effort to stay engaged on & off the ball. There will be some lapses as nobody is perfect, but in general he competes hard. Whether he switches onto a big and has to deny him off the ball or contain guards on the perimeter, you better believe Malachi Flynn will at least put in the effort. He does not often fall asleep on defense or fall victim to lost cause judgments. Picks up from 80 feet out quite often.
  • On Ball Defense: Malachi is a plus on ball defender for a guard his size. He moves his feet very well, competes, and reads his matchup well. In P&R, he is an intelligent & scrappy defender that makes the right reads and does not get buried by screens. He will be naturally limited due to his size and lacking length at the next level. But, what he does with what he has is very impressive.
  • Off-Ball Defense: Malachi is an excellent team defender at the 1 spot. He does not give up advantages easily, positions himself well, keeps his head on a swivel, communicates, and puts in the effort to make life as difficult as he can for opposing players. He fights through off ball screens, does his best to break plays, and just competes. There is a lot to like here.
    • Defensive IQ: Flynn is a defensive player who can make proactive reads that counter opposing offensive sets. It is incredibly clear that he has a very high understanding of the game on both ends (see possession below). Of course, on top of all this he makes the effort to execute. He is the type of player I want on my team on both ends. There were occasional lapses of course, but I am fully convinced that his IQ and effort will help a team on the defensive end.

Improvement Areas

  • Strength: Considering Malachi is such a smart and active defender, the only true limitations he has are physical. Adding muscle could certainly help his versatility, but for now I would want him just defending 1’s and smaller 2’s. I do not expect Malachi to become jacked by any means, but improving in the weight room will certainly help him excel defensively. He will probably always be at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to size, however. He does not have the frame that would suggest him filling out a whole lot more other than improving on the muscle he does have.

Overall Outlook

Malachi Flynn is one of those players that genuinely excite me as a scout. For those who aren’t familiar with my values when it comes to evaluation, I tend to love players with high BBIQs (and/or a high feel) that compete on both ends. Competitiveness and intelligence are traits that I always admire (and value in myself), so when I see a player that has that along with the skill needed to be successful, sheesh. I am sold.

On the other (non-emotional) side of the spectrum, what Malachi Flynn brings to your team on the floor is undeniable. His pick and roll expertise, shooting versatility & execution, playmaking, competitiveness, and all around defensive effort/IQ are all extremely valuable tools to work with in an on/off ball guard. I project that Flynn will be a high rotation – spot starter on a good team, and could certainly be an eventual starter on a poor/mediocre team.

Swing Factors: Strength, second/third level advantage creation & subsequent finishing.

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