Written and Contributions by Rob Manoff and Jason Timperley
The Sixers have two big needs going into this offseason: Shooting and Ball Handling. In my opinion, ball-handling is more of a need. With the current cap situation, the team is in, these needs will have to be addressed via trade, veteran minimum contracts, and the NBA Draft on November 18th. The 76ers currently have pick 21 (first round) and picks 34 and 36 (second round), plus two late second-round picks.
It’s a tall task to ask a team to find two contributing players in one draft, but it could very well be possible this year. This year’s draft is unique in that it isn’t very strong in the front end, but could be huge when it comes to finding role players mid to late first round, and maybe even second round. One player that the team should keep an eye on later in the draft is San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn.
The 6 foot 1 guard averaged 17.6 points per game to go along with his 5.1 assists in his Junior season for the Aztecs, and was most dangerous as a ball-handler out of the pick and roll, a skill set that is the 76ers as the team is currently constructive lacks. Flynn showed the versatility to both score and pass as a creator in the PNR, there weren’t many passes Flynn couldn’t make. With the additions of Doc Rivers as head coach and Daryl Morey as President of Basketball Operations, it is safe to assume that we may see the 76ers move towards a heavy pick and roll offense, Flynn could help.
“His assist-to-turnover ratios is what it’s going to be,” Brian Dutcher (San Diego State head coach) says “In the NBA, you’ve got to play with others and know where the open man is. And Malachi knows where everybody is. He gets on the right team, and they’re going to put him out there in space with other players. He is going to look good himself, but he’s going to make other players look better.”Taken From “Malachi Flynn’s swagger, shooting ability could open NBA door” by Chris Dorch of NBA.com
What makes Malachi such an interesting prospect is his IQ and ability to be a dual-threat with the ball playing in a pick and roll offense. His offensive synergy stats really jump off the page when you look at them:
- Pick and Roll including passing 401 possessions 466 points 1.162 points per possession 96th percentile
- Isolations including passing – 76 possessions 72 points .94 points per possession 74th percentile
- Overall transition offense – 1.136 points per possession 72nd percentile
- Overall half court – 1.04 points per possession 92nd percentile
- Shot clock < 4 seconds – 1.325 points per possession 98th percentile
Beyond being able to run the pick and roll, Flynn is no slouch shooter either. He may not be a sniper like Desmond Bane, but he did shoot almost 38% from three last season, and shown the ability to shoot off the dribble, handoff, and running off screens. He was also excellent on spot-ups and shot over 50% on unguarded catch and shoot shots which could make him a good pairing with Ben Simmons on the court.
Where Malachi struggles on the court is getting to the basket. His size plays a role against him, only 6’1″ and 185 pounds, and he struggled to get to the rim at times and had a limited amount of shots in the lane. Also due to his size and lack of strength he doesn’t have true defensive versatility.
He should be adequate when defending most point guards, as he was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, but will struggle when switching onto bigger wings.
OK, now time for some video:
The 76ers have 4 second round picks, and I would trade all 4 to move up to the late first round and draft Malachi Flynn. That may be a little much but you get the point. Flynn is small and may not translate well defensively, but given the right system, he could thrive offensively. He is one of the best, if not the best pick and roll guards in the draft, and Doc Rivers has said multiple times that the time is going to use the pick and roll a lot. If drafted, as of how the roster is constructed today, Flynn would be the best pick and roll ball-handler on the team.
There are obvious questions when it comes to Malachi. Can his shot-making translate to the NBA? Is his basketball IQ and playmaking enough to cover up his lack of size and strength? These types of questions will come with anyone you draft later in the draft, Flynn has been mocked anywhere from late first to the second round. If he is there, it would be smart of the 76ers to find a way to get him. He is the type of player, with the perfect skill set that they should take a chance on.