Charisma and Leadership: Jonny Flynn, the Face of the Minnesota Franchise

Timber WolfAnalyst IISeptember 23, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  Jonny Flynn looks on prior to the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. 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 Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Jonny Flynn was drafted with the 6th pick overall in the 2009 NBA draft. I know this will come as a shocker, but Jonny Flynn has become the leader, emotionally and possibly physically of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This would result in Jonny Flynn becoming the face of the franchise, and he's poised to do that just because of his personality, charisma and skill set.

When it comes to personality, Jonny Flynn has it all. He has the swagger, the demeanor, and the ability to grab you with his words that could make a team getting blown out say "everything is going to be alright."

I have to admit, before the draft, I knew just a little bit about Flynn. I knew that he was the star of Syracuse, and that he was 6'0'' with an athleticism that resembles Chris Paul. I also have to admit that when the Wolves drafted Jonny Flynn right after Rubio, it puzzled me. "Why would we take two point guards back to back? We had Rubio already!"

Then once I got to know Jonny Flynn, I have to admit, that even if Rubio didn't have a buyout situation, I wouldn't have let any other team scoop up Jonny Flynn if we had the opportunity to. Despite Rubio not being here, I was disappointed and happy for the Wolves, and now that the Wolves have moved on (Ramon Sessions), it's now just occurring to me that Jonny Flynn has the qualities of a franchise player.

Franchise Players vs Role Players

  1. Megastars: Extremely rare in the NBA game.  One of a kind, a man among boys.  A player completely above the competition, a player that prides themselves in being the absolute best in any way, shape or form.  A record breaker, a face of the NBA, and the complete player.  They are the ticket sellers, the ones that hype up the crowd, the buzzer beaters, the ones that everyone aspires to be like. They are emotional leaders on and off the court. They are megastars because of the simple fact of their team always has a good chance of winning games due to this player being there.  Examples: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, and Kobe Bryant.
  2. Franchise Players: Players in this category can be considered megastars in some aspects.  The franchise player is considered the go-to guy on the team if there's no megastars. They are emotional leaders on and off the court. There are maybe 10 of them. They excel in almost every stat and category. Examples: Brandon Roy, Gilbert Arenas, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, etc.
  3. All-Stars: The main difference between All-Stars and franchise players (and I stress this a lot), is that an All-Star does not win games as much as franchise players.  An All-Star-caliber player can be with a team for six years, yet they never win more than 35 games each season.  Franchise players and megastars always puts their team in positions to win almost all the time.  All franchise players could be considered All-Stars, but not All-Stars are franchise players.  Examples: Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin, Danny Granger, Kevin Durant, Carlos Boozer, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joe Johnson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, etc.
  4. Starters: A solid all-around player, a player needed for more specifics than a role player, whether it be scoring in small amounts of minutes, leadership, defense or other intangibles.  Starters are not All-Stars in the respect that they are just good players, and will always have a future in the NBA, but as far as making the All-Star cut, they probably will never make it. Nevertheless, their value to NBA teams should  always be respected. Examples: Ron Artest, Trevor Ariza, Mo Williams, Jamal Crawford, Richard Jefferson, Jason Richardson, Emeka Okafor, etc.
  5. Role Players: Some role players are starters, but most are not.  Some are used for their specific strengths in tight situations.  A respected player who develops in other areas to eventually become starter.  Examples: Ryan Gomes, Shane Battier, Chris Anderson, Corey Brewer, Ryan Hollins, Shannon Brown, Eddie House etc.
  6. Bench Warmers: Speaks for itself.  For my purposes, this classification won't be important.

Of course Jonny Flynn hasn't played a minute in the NBA yet, but there's no doubt in my mind that he's one of the most NBA ready players, also as the consensus 2nd favorite to win rookie of the year.

There's qualities that every franchise player need to have, and Jonny Flynn has many of them.

He's now the emotional leader of the Timberwolves. He has shown emotion in Ricky Rubio's decision to stay in Spain.

"Especially for a guy like me, he can make me so much better," Flynn told The Associated Press. "I would have sat here and learned from him. I would have taken things out of his game and put them into my game."

"You definitely lose something that could have made our team better. But that's the decision he made and I guess we're just going to have to wait for maybe two years until he comes over here."

"I just look forward to coming in and contributing," Flynn said. "Even if Ricky was here, we both would have been playing a lot of minutes together."

This let's me know right away that Jonny Flynn had already acknowledged his role, and was willing to learn from a point guard that was taken before him. He acknowledged that he cannot make the Wolves a championship team by himself, and puts the team first. That my friends, is emotion.

He has embraced the Timberwolves since day one:

“First I want to thank the Minnesota Timberwolves organization for giving me the opportunity to come and play on a great, young team like this. A team that’s ready for an NBA championship. I’m just blessed. Just blessed to be in a city like this that’s flourishing. A lot of people like to talk about it’s cold up here. But I like to say in the wintertime this is like Hawaii compared to Niagara Falls, New York. Maybe I can give Wayne some winter fashion tips on how to dress because he’s not used to it. I’m just real excited to be here. I’m excited that the Minnesota Timberwolves gave me the opportunity to bring my talents to the organization.”

"I feel real comfortable. It's a place I'm definitely getting used to really fast. Just the basketball part of it, we are coming in at 10 AM to get team lifts, we get team runs, we come and play pick-up, so the chemistry is already starting. You see any good franchise, any good team, the chemistry has to be clicking from day one and I think we're definitely doing that here."


He has embraced leadership:

"My father, he is a natural born leader. I think that is something you are born with. A lot of people try to form people into those leadership roles, they try to set people up to be a leader but I just think you are naturally born with that. God blessed me with those skills so I definitely try to use that every time."

He speaks highly of his teammates, which shows signs of encouragement which is vital for a player that is going to run a team:

"Sasha is a versatile player, you've seen stretches in Cleveland when he got the chance to get out on the court, he did wonderful things for them. Ramon Sessions, his game speaks for itself. He can score, he can also lookout for his teammates, he had 24 assists in game, that's crazy all by itself. It's just two great players to play with, Ramon Sessions, I definitely can learn a lot from him. His game is similar to mine, being able to score and get his team involved so that's a guy I can really look after and just pick his mind apart and get things from him."

Regardless of knowing that Ramon is his main competition, he only cares about learning the game, and getting better.

He has been chosen for the SLAM rookie diary, a section in SLAM magazine where one rookie is featured speaking on NBA life every issue of the magazine. Eric Gordon was the rookie that was featured last season.

Of course, he would have to have a good rookie season, realistically 14-15 PPG and 6-7 APG. Summer League averages: 15 Points, 7.4 Assists.

Minnesota Timberwolves, I present you your face of the franchise: Jonny Flynn