The first game I ever saw Jonny Flynn play basketball live, he hit a go-ahead, game-winning shot against St. Joe’s at the Carrier Dome in 2007. Some athletes in sports make an impression on you right away. For me, Flynn was one of those guys. Between the electric smile, orange headband, and swagger on and off the court, there was just something about him.
In two years, Flynn could lay claim to being one of the best point guards in Syracuse history, along the likes of Pearl Washington and Sherman Douglas. For whatever reason, that success has eluded him in the NBA. After being drafted sixth overall two years ago, he was traded to the Rockets last week. Any way you break that down, it’s a failure.
This past season, Flynn averaged 5.3 points and 3.4 assists per game, shooting 36.5% from the field. Obviously, that’s a pretty rough year, even considering the fact the he was battling back from hip surgery.
Here’s the dilemma for the Rockets – how do you keep Flynn around when Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic are already on the roster? Lowry was fantastic last season, and Dragic played pretty well in a backup role after his trade in mid-February. In the NBA, it’s now three players for two spots.
Theoretically, you can keep 3, but not all will play. It’s very possible that Daryl Morey will need to make a call on this before the regular season (if/when there is one). That’s not a ton of time to evaluate your roster.
I am still a believer in the talent Flynn has. Sometimes, it takes a while for point guards to figure it out in the NBA (see Chauncey Billups). Flynn played in the triangle offense in Minnesota, which is historically brutal for his position. In Houston, there’s a much more up-tempo attack, which will definitely help him out.
The biggest thing Jonny needs to do is develop his jump shot, as he told Marc Vandermeer and myself on Thursday morning on SportsRadio 610. Guards in this league must be able to hit open jump shots, especially with the amount of pick-and-rolls that you see in the NBA. 41% just isn’t cutting it. From an anecdotal standpoint, I always thought Flynn had the ability to be a good shooter. He does have range and 3-point ability, but he needs to show that consistently.
At the end of the day, the Rockets have three promising players for two spots. It’s certainly a good problem to have, but a choice must eventually be made.