Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects: Jonny Flynn, Syracuse

Stats: 17.4 ppg, 6.7 apg, 1.4 spg, 3.4 t/o's, 46% FG, 31.7% 3PT, 78.6% FT

Listed Size: 6'0", 172 lb, 2/6/1989, (20 years old)

(photo credit: Zimbio)

About Him: Jonny Flynn is an extremely talented basketball player, but before talking about anything he can do on the court, you have to talk about the intangibles Flynn brings to the table. When you are picking a point guard, maybe the most important trait you look for is if the kid is a winner and a leader. That is Flynn to a T. He is as tough of a competitor and plays with more heart than anyone at the point in recent memory. If the fact that he played damn near every minute as a freshman isn't enough, go back and watch highlights from the Big East Tournament. He carried Syracuse to a six OT win over UConn (when the Orange didn't lead until the sixth OT), then beat WVU in OT the next night.

Flynn's biggest strength as a player is his 1-on-1 ability. He has a combination of explosive athleticism and great handle that makes him so difficult to stay in front of. He is able to get to the rim just about anytime that he wants too. He is a decent finisher at the rim, but at times struggled to finish against bigger defenders inside, which could be an issue at the next level. He was great at getting to the foul line, however, drawing a foul on 16.1% of his possessions used.

As a jumpshooter, Flynn is tough to project simply because of the difficulty of the shots he took. He had good PPP numbers of his catch-and-shoot (1.24) and pull-up (.92) opportunities, but he was just a 31.7% shooter from deep (although, Synergy Sports said that less than a fifth of the threes he attempted were when he was left open and off of the catch, meaning more than 80% of he three-balls were shot off the dribble, with a hand in his face, or both). He has a good looking form and gets great elevation on his shot, so the odds are good that he can become a threat from the NBA three point line.

The biggest knock on Flynn offensively is that he is not a great decision maker. He would settle for tough shots early in the shot clock far too often, would look to get bailed out by the refs on drives to the rim, and had a tendency to try and make the pass that would get on Sportscenter's Top 10 as opposed to the smart, easy one. As a result, he made a lot of gorgeous plays, but also had a high turnover rate.

To be fair, Syracuse relied heavily on Flynn's ability to create, which probably factored a lot into how much he forced things on the offensive end.

Defensively, Flynn has the tools to be a pest. His size (5'11", but with a 6'4" wingspan) means that he will only be able to defend point guards, but he is a phenomenal athlete (40" vert was the highest in this year's class) which means that he could be a good defender at the next level. But he wasn't a great defender at Syracuse. While he did come up with some big plays, overall he looked a bit disinterested defensively at times. Some of that can be attributed to Syracuse playing a lot of zone, which Flynn was not a big fan of. If you have the athleticism, defense becomes all about effort. Will Flynn work hard enough to be a good defender at the next level?

Comparisons: Best Case: Bobby Jackson, more athletic Earl Watson; Worst Case: Omar Cook.

Bottom Line: Flynn has proven the ability to be a leader, to knock down clutch shots, and that he has the heart of a lion. Combine that with his 1-on-1 scoring ability, and Flynn is pretty high on a lot of draft boards, maybe even surpassing Brandon Jennings as the third PG (behind Rubio and Evans). Whether or not he is a starter or a spark plug off the bench (think Bobby Jackson with the Kings) will be determined by how much his all around game (jumper, defense, decision making) develops and the team he is playing for. At the very least, he projects as a high-quality reserve.



joe said...

best case: bobby jackson? come on dude. let me guess you're best case for A.J. Price is Michael Jordan/ Isiah Thomas?

I think he's going to be somewhere between Jameer Nelson (with more athleticism) and Chris Paul. I know, i know, its unlikely that he will be nearly as good as Paul is, but he has those same types of skills and toughness. He is a little undersized but the other factors of his game more than make up for an inch or two of height.

To be relied on to bail out the SU offense so often last year and still manage to shoot 46% from the field is amazing.

Rob Dauster said...

You call me a UConn homer and you put Jonny Flynn in the same sentence as Chris Paul?

I'm actually surprised that you would take a comparison to Bobby Jackson as me degrading Flynn. Jackson was a sixth man (that played starters minutes) on a Kings team that was one of the best in the West for like six years, and that probably would have made two finals if it weren't for Tim Donaghy and Chris Webber's knee.

The comparison to Jameer Nelson is decent, but I see Flynn as a much more dynamic, but inconsitent, player. The reason I compared him to Jackson is that I can see Flynn averaging 12-15 ppg down the road, but only because he goes for 30 and 8 dimes one night and goes 1-11 with six turnovers the next.

Jonny Flynn and Chris Paul, realLy?