Coming off of a year-long championship run, Lakers fans might not be thinking about the 2020 NBA Draft at this very moment, but as we get closer to Nov. 18, the intrigue will almost certainly grow, as is the case every year.
SB Nation has a one-stop shop for all of your general NBA draft needs that is definitely worth checking out whether you’re a Lakers fan or not. In addition to that, we here at Silver Screen and Roll have been rounding up the latest mock drafts to get a better idea of who the reigning champions will be taking on draft night.
Here’s what we found this week:
SB Nation: Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
The Athletic: Malachi Flynn, San Diego State
The Ringer: Malachi Fylnn, San Diego State
Bleacher Report: Payton Pritchard, Oregon
ESPN: Tyler Bey, Colorado
The “Malachi Flynn Hype Train” has definitely picked up steam in the weeks leading up to the draft, but fortunately for the Lakers, the 22-year-old point guard is still expected to be available when they’re on the clock with the No. 28 pick on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Upon first glance, Flynn might not appear to be all that impressive because of his height (6´1˝) and weight (185-pounds), but it doesn’t take longer for him to turn his doubters into believers when he steps onto the court. The first thing that stands out about Flynn is his ability to shoot the ball.
In his junior season at San Diego State University, Flynn averaged 17.6 points per game while making 50.7% of his 2-point attempts (213) and 37.3% of his 3-point attempts (204). While those percentages are good, they’re even better when you see the versatility in his shot selection. He’s a bona fide, all-around shooter.
However, to say that Flynn is just a shooter would be a disservice to him. He’s also a smart decision-maker out of the pick-and-roll. Sometimes, that means him beating defenders off of the dribble in spite of his lack of explosiveness and other times, it means making plays for his teammates. His basketball IQ is really impressive, and that’s true on both ends of the floor.
Last season, Flynn led the Mountain Western Conference in steals per game (1.8), steal percentage (3.2), defensive box plus-minus (4.1) and win shares (7.4). His 7.4 win shares were also the most in the entire NCAA. So where’s the downside with Flynn?
As I noted, Flynn’s physicals don’t exactly jump off the page, and his size raises questions about his ability to attack the paint on offense and switch on defense, the latter of which he struggled to do even at the collegiate level. It also makes his makes his non-physical attributes like his ball-handling, shooting and passing that much more important.
Flynn might have the skills to come in and contribute right away, but he needs to get stronger in order to make the same impact he made in college at the next level, and he won’t have much time to do that with the season starting so soon. For some teams, that might be enough for them to pass on Flynn, but it shouldn’t be for the Lakers, who can wait a while for Flynn to develop. Let’s hope they’re in a position to make that decision on draft night.