It was just three years ago that the Timberwolves selected Jonny Flynn sixth overall in the 2009 NBA draft, one spot after the team nabbed Ricky Rubio. At the time, the Rubio choice raised some eyebrows, as the Spaniard point guard decided to continue his career overseas, expressing a reluctance to play in Minnesota. This past season, however, Rubio arrived in Minnesota and provided the type of production the T-Wolves had hoped for, averaging 10.6 points and 8.2 assists per game before going down with an ACL injury.
As Rubio emerged as the point guard of the future in Minnesota, Flynn spent the season playing for the Rockets and Trail Blazers. With the Rockets having declined his fourth-year option, Flynn was essentially in a contract year, and didn't do a whole lot to raise his stock, recording career-lows in FG% (.351), PPG (4.5), and a handful of other categories, while averaging just 14.3 MPG in 29 contests.
On the surface, Flynn looks like a bust. It's not clear whether he'll even receive an NBA contract this year. But even in his disappointing 2011/12 season, there were a few indications that he could be worth a flier. His 8.3 assists per 36 minutes were a career-high, and was by far the best assist rate of any free agent still on the market. Additionally, his numbers became more respectable after his move to Portland, where he played 18 games, averaging 5.2 points, 3.8 assists, and a 12.3 PER in 15.6 minutes per contest for the Blazers.
Those numbers aren't fantastic by any means, but for a player that's still just 23 years old and could have a good deal of upside, they should intrigue teams still in need of a third point guard. At this point, most contracts being signed are non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed minimum salary deals, a price that would make it worthwhile to roll the dice on Flynn. So what teams could be a fit for him? Here are a few ideas:
- Bucks: Milwaukee's roster is forward-heavy, with only Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Beno Udrih, and Doron Lamb in the backcourt. A trade may be more likely than a free agent signing, but Flynn could be one target for depth.
- Cavaliers: The Cavs reportedly had interest in Flynn and worked him out in July. They've picked up Jeremy Pargo since then, but both Pargo and Donald Sloan, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, made their NBA debuts within the last year. It remains to be seen whether either player is ready to assume the role of Kyrie Irving's backup.
- Hawks: Atlanta is another team that worked out Flynn earlier in the offseason, and could still use him. The Hawks have Jeff Teague and Devin Harris at the point, but may need a third option, particularly if that duo spends time on the court together.
- Heat: While Miami continues to focus on finding a big man, the team's point guard duo of Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole doesn't give them much depth in case of an injury.
- Hornets: If Austin Rivers and Greivis Vasquez can capably handle the point, New Orleans may not have a need there, especially if Brian Roberts makes the team. But none of those guys are sure things, so further insurance may be required.
- Magic: Jameer Nelson is locked in as the starter in Orlando, but he only has Ish Smith backing him up. Even if the Magic are confident in Smith as Nelson's backup, I'd be surprised if they didn't bring at least one more point guard to training camp.
- Pistons: Like the Bucks, the Pistons are loaded with frontcourt players, making a trade the preferred route for acquiring backcourt help. If they can't find a trade partner, the Pistons could look to free agency to bolster a point guard spot that features only Brandon Knight and Will Bynum. But with 15 guaranteed contracts already on the books, it's a long shot.