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Jonny Flynn on His Love of the Game

Jun 11, 2009 – 5:02 PM
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Matt Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz %BloggerTitle%

Erstwhile slasher Jonny Flynn has been on NBA radars for a while. But the epic six-overtime win over UConn in March in which Flynn played 67 minutes and ended up with 34/11 ... that shot him into the collective frontal lobe of draftniks.

A fearless, aggressive and (some would say raw and reckless) point guard, Flynn provides something a bit different from the other major backcourt prospects. FanHouse's Matt Steinmetz attended Flynn's work-out against Brandon Jennings in Oakland Thursday. A transcript of Flynn's press session follows. -- Tom Ziller


Q: How did it go out there?

Flynn: It went pretty well. I didn't shoot the ball as good as I wanted to, but other than that, I really got after it. That's the main thing you want to do in workouts: show that you have enough stamina to finish it out.

Q: What about going up against guys you're compared with?

Flynn: That's what you work out for. When you're young and start playing basketball, when you're coming up the ranks, you look to play against the best. And he's one of the best at my position, if not the best. So just to play against a guy like that (Jennings) who was overseas and who has a different feel for the European game. Bringing that over and then playing against him, that was enjoyable.

Q: Is Jennings the best?

Flynn: In a deep point guard class, you never know who the best is. There are a bunch of us bunched up at the top. You never know who the best is. But in a deep point guard class, he's in the top echelon.

Q: What's your strength?

Flynn: At Syracuse, I had to shoot. Coach Boeheim told me to shoot the ball. If I would have averaged 10 points a game in college we wouldn't have won many games. But I can create for my teammates and create for myself. I really like to get in the lane, dump off to the bigs and kick out to open shooters. Hopefully I can display that when I find my home.

Q: How does your game fit the Warriors' style?

Flynn: They're a team that likes to get up and down the floor. The goal of any point guard is to get out and run, to get out and shoot 3-pointers, run, run the floor, kick the ball out, a bunch of dunks, that's the dream of any point guard who likes to play uptempo. So I think my game fits this type of system.

Q: Does your game fit with Monta Ellis' game?

Flynn: Definitely. Monta is a great player and a great athlete, can shoot the ball well. He came onto the scene and surprised a lot of people. He's a great player and I think he can raise my level of play. And I think I can raise his level of play.

Q: Are you big enough to guard two guards, if you'd have to?

Flynn: I might not be as big as a lot of point guards out there. But my low center of gravity and how big I am, I can stop a lot of twos. I'm not saying every possession I might be checking a two, but how often do you see point guards or two guards going to the block every possession? You rarely see it. When the time presents itself, and I'm in the post position, I think I can defend it pretty well.

Q: What do you think you showed them today?

Flynn: I think I showed I can push the tempo, get into the lane and create for others. I think that's one thing I really want to show teams that I can get into the lane and be a facilitator. At Syracuse I was the guy taking the bulk of shots because I had to. But I want to be known as a pass-first point guards because I love the assist more than the bucket.

Q: All the point guards are pretty young. Do you think you're more ready to run a pro team than some of the other guys?

Flynn: I would think so. I would hope so. In the system coming from Syracuse, Coach Boeheim ran high screen-and-rolls, he ran side screen-and-rolls, a lot of different sets that the NBA are running. Every team runs the pick-and-roll so I think that I've become adept at playing that style.

Q: What makes the Warriors a better fit for you?

Flynn: Just their style of play, just how they get up and down the floor. A lot of people look at where a team is slotted or how high you can go. But the main thing about getting drafted is, you can get drafted high but if you're not in the right situation you can't flourish in a situation where it doesn't fit your game. Even though the Warriors have a high pick, this is my style of game, the style I can flourish in, and show people that I can play the point guard position, make the playoffs and hopefully win a championship.

Q: Do you pay attention to mock drafts?

Flynn: You can't really pay attention to that. It's only human nature to take a peek at who's moving up. But on draft night, a lot of crazy things can happen. Last year, Russell Westbrook came out of nowhere and basically messed the whole draft up, so to speak. You can look forward to that happening this year, but I'm just doing the things I can control.

Q: What did you think of Jennings?

Flynn: He's a great player, he pushes the tempo, he's fast, he's crafty. He's so crafty with the basketball. He knows how to use the screen-and-roll and he's a tough guy to keep in front.

Q: And he's a lefty.

Flynn: It's always hard playing a lefty. If you're a basketball player and you play against anybody, lefties are the hardest ones to check. Being good and left-handed is definitely a good combination.

Q: How did you shoot the NBA 3-pointer?

Flynn: I did pretty well shooting the NBA 3. We did it at the end of the workout, I think to show if you could shoot with your legs, when you're mentally drained and things like that. I think I did a pretty good job shooting the ball.

Q: You're game has been compared to Baron Davis' game. Do you see that?

Flynn: Well, being the same breath as him is an honor. I'm definitely not the same size but my ability to get into the lane on almost anybody who is defending me that's a similarity we have. I might not shoot the ball as good as he can, but that will come with practice and repetition.

Q: You know Baron Davis shot 37 percent last year?

Flynn: From the field? Oh, my. Every game I saw him it seemed like he was going for 30 or 40.

Q: Defensively, are you prepared for the challenge of defending in the NBA?

Flynn: This is a question that comes up so much ... when you're playing a zone for two years and you can't show your athleticism, you can't show your ability to get up on a guy and dictate the game on defense. Coming from a high school where we were known for defense and playing for the USA team and really getting after guys defensively. I think the two years of college, where I played zone, I don't think I'm that far behind guys who have been playing their whole career. Every day at Syracuse we went over man-to-man principles and just can't wait to show people that I can stop people.

Q: Don Nelson has a reputation of being tough on rookies. Does that concern you?

Flynn: Not at all. That's what you need. It's a man-eat-man league. Everybody is after your paycheck, everybody is after your spot. So you have to have somebody hard on you and demanding of you.

Q: We keep hearing that you love to play. Where did that passion come from?

Flynn: Whenever you're doing anything you love you have to be passionate about it. If I asked you how do you like this, you're going to give it your all and give it your best in every story you write. When you're doing something you love, if you're not passionate, there's something wrong with that scene. Growing up, playing basketball every day. Playing on milk crates, buggies, garbage cans, whatever we could get our hands on to play with. The love grew from there.

Q: You ever use the sock and hanger?

Flynn: I did the hanger thing hanging up under the door. Broke so many of those hangers that my mom used to beat me pretty bad because I used to go through so many hangers. But whatever it was to get a little basketball hoop up, I did everything.
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