With the 29th pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors added a new point guard named Malachi Flynn.
The 22-year-old native of Tacoma, Wash., is fresh off an All-American season at San Diego State University that saw him named Mountain West Conference player of the year.
Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said he was someone Toronto has followed through his impressive college season and the team recently visited him in Las Vegas.
“We felt really comfortable with obviously his character, he obviously had a really successful season, and won a ton this year at San Diego State,” Webster said.
After two years at Washington State, Flynn transferred to SDSU and played 32 games for the Aztecs last season. He averaged a team-leading 17.6 points with 5.1 assists.
The Raptors also selected University of Nevada guard Jalen Harris in the second round – 59th overall – the second-last pick of the draft.
Wednesday’s draft – delayed from its usual June date by the pandemic – was conducted virtually, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver announcing the picks from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Conn. The players received the news remotely, surrounded by their families.
Each pick quickly put on the appropriate team hat from a box of all 30 shipped to the top prospects in advance. The at-home nature of the draft didn’t provide the typical iconic moments of players on stage, but there were still plenty of stylish suits and emotional celebrations as draftees realized their NBA dreams.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had the first overall pick, and they used it on Anthony Edwards, a freshman guard from the University of Georgia. When he heard his name called, the 19-year-old was seated next to portraits of his late mother and grandmother, both of whom passed away from cancer.
With the No. 2 pick, the Golden State Warriors chose Memphis centre James Wiseman. The Charlotte Hornets used the No. 3 selection on LaMelo Ball, the youngest of the three brothers from the well-recognized Ball family.
The Raptors are in the thick of a very condensed and hectic off-season, with the new NBA campaign set to begin on Dec. 22. NBA free agency will kick off in rapid succession, at 6 p.m. ET on Friday. Key Raptors are slated to hit the market: Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol.
The team also must settle the urgent matters of where it will host training camp and play its home games – issues complicated by the closed border between Canada and the U.S. during the pandemic. While American cities have offered to play host to the Raptors, the team has made it clear its preference is to remain at home. The team has provided detailed proposals to governments about how it – and the opposing teams that visit – could play safely in Toronto.
In an editorial he wrote in the Toronto Star last weekend, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said, “We hope, very much, that our new normal will be here in Toronto. We hope to play next season in Scotiabank Arena, even if our fans can’t join us in person.
“And, of course, we want to do this safely, smartly and responsibly. We wouldn’t even suggest doing it any other way. Public health is the priority. Period.”
NBA teams are scheduled to begin training camps on Dec.1.