Jonny Flynn, left, continues to await his chance in the NBA.
Nikki Boertman, Associated Press - Ap
Jerry Zgoda's Sunday Insider: Flynn says Houston's 'definitely better for me'
- January 21, 2012 - 9:28 PM
Jonny Flynn's smiling, upbeat persona is one reason new Timberwolves boss David Kahn drafted him sixth overall in 2009 for a franchise Kahn deemed lacking both point guards and charisma.
Seven months after the Wolves traded him to Houston, Flynn won't exactly call his two seasons with the team lost time for everyone involved, but ...
"You always have to take the good from crazy situations," he said. "It was a tough situation coming in as a rookie. Just on draft day, you see just how that transpired. From the start, it was a weird situation."
Kahn drafted a guy named Rubio fifth and Flynn sixth -- a pair of point guards, back to back, in a draft filled with promising point guards -- on that first day of Flynn's NBA career.
Two months later, Kahn hired a new coach who ran an offensive system that sure didn't seem to maximize point guards.
Rubio stayed in Spain for those two seasons while Flynn signed and stayed with the Wolves, and neither one seemed to develop.
A pick-and-roll point guard all his life, Flynn seemed lost in a triangle-based system Kurt Rambis brought with him from the champion Los Angeles Lakers.
"That's not my style; I don't think that's anybody's style," Flynn said. "Or any point guard's style who plays the way I play. Most coaches, they play to the style of their players. You never hear of a coach going out there and doing something totally opposite to what his players do best."
A hip injury that required surgery the summer between his first and second NBA seasons didn't help any, either. He returned after missing the season's first six weeks a year ago but said he never returned to full health until he spent last summer rehabbing his hip in Houston and working with former NBA guard John Lucas.
"I just want to get out there and really be able to play and show people how I can play my style of ball," Flynn said before a game against the Clippers in Los Angeles earlier this month. "I think that time in Minnesota, I wasn't really playing my game. It'd be good to get out there and show people the Jonny Flynn they saw at Syracuse.
"This is definitely better for me. I'm grateful the Timberwolves did draft me, I wish the best for Minnesota and I'm glad I'm a Houston Rocket."
"This" means on a new team with a new coach -- former Timberwolves boss and coach Kevin McHale, funny enough -- who runs a more traditional NBA offense based upon pick-and-roll plays.
"This" is a spot on the Rockets' bench as a third point guard behind Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic.
"It has been unfair for Jonny, to be truthful," McHale said. "You kind of went with the guy [Dragic] who was more familiar with his teammates, who played here last year, who's played more NBA minutes. Jonny's done nothing wrong. Jonny's actually been very good.
"There's no question he's an NBA player. Unfortunately for Jonny, he needs to play, but it's hard to play three point guards."
And so Flynn sits and waits to find the success that so many other point guards in his draft class -- Steph Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor and now Rubio -- already have reached.
"In this league, you just have to wait sometimes," Flynn said. "Wait for things to turn around in your direction. When it does, it'll be good finally to show everybody the real me."
© 2016 Star Tribune