Jonny Flynn: Re-Evaluating His Potential As Minnesota Timberwolves' Point Guard
ESPN's worst starting point guard is injured with a hip pointer. We are talking about Jonny Flynn, the former Syracuse guard that just two years ago led his team to a six-overtime victory in the Big East tournament. That point guard who looked like an All-Star during his summer league stint. The point guard who was a lock for Rookie of the Year once Blake Griffin underwent surgery for his knee during the preseason.
Enter Kurt Rambis, his triangle offense and the Timberwolves' lack of depth, shooters and finishers, and you have a complete disaster rookie season right? The triangle offense is notoriously known for being post presence/swing player heavy, and hardly involving the point guard. Jonny Flynn still put together a good rookie campaign by any standard.
Averaging 14 points and four assists in 29 minutes in the NBA as a 20-year-old is still solid, and considering the fact that Jonny had a leash on his creativity about a foot long, he showed enough flash to let people know he's an NBA-caliber starting point guard.
Yes, you have Brandon Jennings' 55-point explosion, but he did shoot 38 percent from the field for the season. Yes, you have Tyreke Evans, who's not a traditional point guard. Yes, you have Darren Collison, who thrived in the New Orleans Hornets system once Chris Paul got injured, but has been playing very average this season with the full reigns to the Indiana Pacers offense. Ty Lawson still looks solid, but hasn't stunned me at all considering that he's older than Flynn.
Who will be better in their prime?
Yes, you have Stephen Curry, who remains critics' main reason to justify that selecting Flynn was a bad move.
Well, is Stephen Curry that much better than Flynn? Both are poor defenders, both can shoot the ball, both can dribble and break down defenders, both show flashes of leadership, both don't rack up assists at an alarming rate. Yes, Curry is better than Flynn for now, but Flynn could prove doubters wrong this season.
Just a few days ago, Flynn underwent his first full heavy contact three-on-three and should be gearing up for a D-league stint to get his rhythm back. When Flynn comes back, he will be put on the court with a supremely more talented squad than last year, and he's just the type of guard that will excel this year due to the change in the system and teammate personnel.
Here are my reasons:
Luke Ridnour and Sebastian Telfair's Role
Luke Ridnour looked great coming out for the first few games, but since then he has cooled down and looked like a true backup. Luke doesn't set up his teammates as well as he could; he's settling for jumpers and floaters instead of dishing. Sebastian Telfair looked great as well, but has been bothered with a foot injury. When he was relatively healthy, Telfair was getting the green light to jack up shots, and he was knocking them down.
Regardless of what people want to say, last year Jonny Flynn was the Timberwolves' biggest offensive threat. Al Jefferson could be shut down due to rehabbing his knee, and that's pretty much the only other offensive threat that the Wolves had. Jonny Flynn was the only player that could create his own shot from the perimeter, and considering the fact that Brewer, Gomes and Ellington were the team's only shooters, it's amazing to me how Flynn didn't average under 13 points.
Flynn now enters an offense of dead-eye shooters being set up wrong, and spectacular athletes. He fits that mold, and it will excel him and his teammates.
Months on the Sideline
Flynn on his rehabbing, Luke Ridnour, Telfair, Rambis' observations, etc.
"The first thing that stands out to me is the way he (Luke) advances the ball. If he sees somebody open downcourt, he'll make the long pass to him so we can push our offense. He also knows how to space the floor real well. He's always in the right position on the floor and knows how to get out of the way when necessary. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He knows what spots to be in at the right time. He and Sebastian (Telfair) do a lot of the little things that I want to implement in my game when I come back."
"You want to make sure everybody knows what we're in on offense, and for defense, what pick-and-roll coverages we're supposed to be using; who should be helping out here or there. From what I've seen, we just need to fine-tune a lot of the little things, and we'll be OK."
"With team being more athletic and having the shooters we have, it will really be a year for me where I can get the ball up the floor and penetrate or kick it out. I can see adding my part of the game to the up-tempo style we're developing. I'm looking forward to that."
But the biggest quote for me was this one.
"Last year, I was always thinking when he (Rambis) pulled me to the side, 'What is he talking about? What is he seeing?' When you sit there and see things from the sidelines, you see a lot of things you normally wouldn't see or pay attention to when you're in the game. I really have a better understanding now of what the coaches are looking at."
Ricky Rubio's Chip on his Shoulder
There was a feeling with those within the organization that Flynn secretly doesn't want Rubio to come over. That's a good thing.
Understand that Flynn hasn't nearly hit his peak, and that things will be much easier for him come this season, but he's working that much harder knowing that the Spanish ghost is coming for his starting spot pending a lockout. While Rubio might be a better passer and defender than Flynn, please consider that Flynn is superior in his own aspects to Rubio.
Flynn's a better shooter, penetrator, vocal leader and he's freaky quick even for a point guard (watch the rookie/sophomore game, if you're the quickest among the quick guards, you're pretty fast).
The Timberwolves have been lacking that third player in the new era of the "Big Three." Of course Kevin Love and Michael Beasley are the two, but who will arise to be the third? Darko Milicic has been making the case over the last five to six games. Jonny Flynn could definitely make his case, but you have to remember that Wesley Johnson isn't in a rhythm, and Martell Webster isn't back from his injury.
Ahh, we forgot about Wesley Johnson! Jonny Flynn having Wesley Johnson and Beasley on the wings sounds really good too me. There's even some lineups when Flynn could be on the court with a combination of Beasley, Webster, Brewer or Wes Johnson on the court at the same time. That's sick on the fast break.
In other words, get healthy Flynn, because the Wolves are expecting big things out of you.
P.S: I'd rather have the worst starting point guard in the league then the best backup point guard, just saying.
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