During a pre-draft workout in Toronto on Friday afternoon, Flynn was in constant motion, bouncing from spot-to-spot with reckless abandon, hitting teammates with passes that would sail by hapless defenders ears and playing gritty defense that frustrated his opponents.
In fact, in many ways watching Flynn brought back a flood of memories of the first face of the Raptors: Damon Stoudamire.
What does bringing up Stoudamire have to do with mending the hearts of Raptors fans? If anything, the mention of the first player to break the hearts of Raptors fans should only bring up doom and gloom as fans start to worry about their current franchise player, Chris Bosh, bolting town next summer.
While Flynn and Stoudamire are both pint-sized point guards known to make fans cheer in delight over their heroics on the court, the difference is Flynn seems unlikely to break their hearts like Stoudamire did when he demanded a trade out of the city.
“Toronto, being right over the border from where I’m at in Niagara Falls, basically makes me a Canadian,” Flynn joked while flashing his trademark smile. “It would be nice to come here to play because my family would be close and could come to see me play.”
While that may have been said to get a laugh from reporters, this is a quote that is sure to strike a nerve with Raptors fans. Ever since Stoudamire demanded a trade out of Toronto and Vince Carter followed suit a couple years later, one of the biggest concerns for Raptors fans is whether marquee players would want to play in Toronto. It’s because of this fans worry star players will abandon them, much like they are already starting to panic about the possibility of losing Chris Bosh next summer.
With Flynn the Raptors have a chance to draft someone who loves the city and would be willing to make his home here long-term. In this writers humble opinion that’s worth a lot and makes him a player the Raptors should consider on draft night. Even if he lacks the desired size for a floor general, he has the mental toughness, leadership abilities and has shown he can be a lock down defender on the perimeter.
Head coach Jay Triano and general manager Bryan Colangelo appear to be thinking along the same lines as they both invested substantial time after the workout talking with Flynn. Flynn was laughing with Triano for a couple minutes under a basket and before he left the court he was spotted joking around with Colangelo for an extended period of time. As an outsider to those discussions I can only speculate, but it appeared as though the Raptors brain trust were impressed by what they saw in the workout and enjoyed getting to know the talented point guard on a more personal level.
With the chance to draft a talented player who loves the city, the Raptors might be tempted to scrap their plan of drafting a wing player and instead go for a player like Flynn who could have a significant impact on the court for this franchise for years to come.
Not only that, but drafting Flynn would provide fans with a chance to reconcile their broken hearts over former fan favourites who have left for perceived greener pastures.