NBA

Exclusive Interview: Raptors Guard Malachi Flynn Talks About Putting on a Clinic at Pro-ams This Summer, Workout Regimen, and More

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 14: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during a game at the Smoothie King Center on February 14, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Raptors guard Malachi Flynn was ubiquitous in Toronto this past weekend. The 24-year-old put on a clinic alongside Scottie Barnes at the Ball Don’t Stop pro-am and hosted his inaugural youth basketball camp, as well. Sideline Sources’ Wenzell Ortiz caught up with Flynn to talk about his success at pro-ams, his summer workouts, expectations for next season, and more.

Sit-Down Interview with Malachi Flynn

Answers and questions have been edited and condensed for clarity

Wenzell Ortiz: This is your inaugural youth basketball camp as a member of the Raptors. What does it mean to be giving back to the city, particularly the kids?

Malachi Flynn: It feels good to be able to come back and give back to the kids, especially in the city that drafted me. With Covid the first couple of years, we haven’t been able to do stuff like this – so it just feels good to be back in the gym with kids and helping out.

WO: You took part in multiple pro-ams this summer and put on a slew of scintillating performances. What is your mindset like heading into these types of games?

MF: It’s just been cool to hoop. That’s what I love to do, regardless of whether it’s the season or not. I’m always playing somewhere, so I’ve been going to different places playing and having fun.

WO: What have you been working on this summer, with regards to your game?

MF: Just getting better at everything, really. I’m working on my shot and focusing on all the little things because it will pay off come the start of the season.

WO: Who did you mirror your game after growing up?

MF: There are definitely a lot of different guys you can watch and learn from. You can pick things up from multiple players you see and add their skills to your repertoire. Even with Fred on my team, I’m still learning from him daily.

WO: Talk about playing in the Ball Don’t Stop pro-am this past weekend, alongside Scottie Barnes.

MF: It was fun. Above all, we were out there putting on a show for the fans. It’s real easy to play with Scottie — he can do a lot of things on the court.

Scottie Barnes and Malachi Flynn
Photo by Jay Khurana

WO: Thus far in your career, what is your favourite moment as a Raptor?

MF: Making the playoffs, for sure. Being in that environment is incredible and there’s a lot to take away.

Q&A in Front of the Camp

Answers and questions have been edited and condensed for clarity

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 01: Malachi Flynn #22 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles during the second half of their NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets at Scotiabank Arena on March 1, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Photo by Cole Burston

Question: What were you doing as a kid to better your game?

Malachi Flynn: A lot of reps. I was in the gym every day, putting in hours upon hours of work. Whether it was getting up shots or merely working on my craft, it was a process over time. My work kept building up and every year I got better. Above all, if you get better every year of your life, you’re going to be pretty good at the end of the day.

Q: Why is it important to focus on the fundamentals of basketball?

MF: It’s huge because the best players know the fundamentals. Growing up, Kobe was my favorite player and his fundamentals, you could say, are better than anybody’s. All the greats, their fundamentals are exceptional. Even though they’re athletic, they have great footwork. 

All of that comes from watching the game and seeing what they’re doing. I used to watch all types of highlights and analyze how different players move, and then incorporate my own style into it.

Q: Who are some players you grew up watching and mirroring?

MF: Kobe was number one, he’s the greatest to me. Although, guys like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kyrie, Steph, Damian Lillard — I like to take things away from them too.

Q: Who’s the hardest player to guard in the NBA?

MF: Kyrie.

Q: Who defends you the best in the league?

MF: Lu Dort.

Q: What was it like playing with Scottie at the pro-am?

MF: It was cool. Scottie and I have had a relationship since Summer League, so for him to come out and play with us was great.

Flynn’s offensive arsenal was on full display at the Ball Don’t Stop pro-am. The Tacoma native scored 54 points, including a bevy of arduous threes. He also earned MVP honors and was awarded a championship belt, edging out his teammate and Rookie of the Year, Scottie Barnes.

Ekam Nagra and Malachi Flynn
Photo by Jay Khurana

If you have been paying attention to pro-am basketball this summer, however, then Flynn’s 54-point outburst should come as no surprise. In July, the 24-year-old put up a scintillating 74 points at Jamal Crawford’s CrawsOver game, followed by a 52-point showing at the renowned Drew League a few weeks later.

Flynn is entering his third season in the league and should his prolific scoring performances this summer portend anything, Raptors fans can expect a breakout season from their backup guard.

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