Malachi Flynn eager to follow Fred VanVleet’s path from 905 to Raptors star

Title: Malachi Flynn eager to follow Fred VanVleet’s path from 905 to Raptors star
Date: February 9, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Malachi Flynn’s approach to his first G League assignment and the lessons the Raptors’ 905 alumni passed down.

Malachi Flynn’s lasting image from his first stint with the Toronto Raptors is as affirming as they come. Watching from the bench for all but the final two-and-a-half minutes, Flynn watched as Fred VanVleet poured in 54 points.

It was the most points ever scored by a Raptor and most scored by a G League alumni. There is no better example of the value of the G League or the success of the Raptors’ developmental program, Raptors 905, than VanVleet. Flynn had spent the last 11 weeks being mentored and, with the point guard position in good, healthy hands between VanVleet and Kyle Lowry, he was now being sent for a G League seasoning period of his own.

This is not unique to Flynn, though the circumstances of a G League bubble in Orlando are. VanVleet has reached the most recent high from the 905 program and is perhaps the most notable graduate since he was undrafted, but he’s not alone. Pascal Siakam, a first-round pick like Flynn, spent half a season there. Norman Powell played eight games in his rookie year. Chris Boucher spent the bulk of an MVP season there. Each has used the 905 as a different part of their developmental path — to stay fresh, to work on skills, to rebuild parts of their game — and are joined by seven other teammates with G League experience. Flynn and Jalen Harris will make it 13 of 16 players on the roster with G League experience, and the absence of stigma around an assignment has become a piece of the organization’s developmental culture.

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