When the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Jonny Flynn 6th overall in 2009, the point guard had no idea three years later he would find himself playing in Australia. But after bouncing around the NBA with three different teams, Flynn is looking forward to getting on the floor and staying there with the Melbourne Tigers.
Sitting at a press conference table wearing a yellow Melbourne Tigers jersey, Jonny Flynn did not sugar coat it.
He's ready to get back to playing basketball. That's what this journey down under is all about.
And now he'll get that chance in Australia.
Back on October 22 when the Detroit Pistons released Flynn, some believed his next move would either be the D-League or signing to play in China much like Terrence Williams, who was also waived by the Pistons. But you could say Flynn's agent Leon Rose thought outside of the box in finding him a home beyond China, Spain or Russia and now after spending the last three seasons bouncing between Minnesota, a D-League stint in Sioux Falls, Houston and Portland, the former 6th overall pick in 2009 is ready to do something he hasn't done much of lately.
Get on the court and actually play.
"Sometimes you get into situations where you are not playing in practice and you are not playing in games and you can't get better if you are not playing basketball," Flynn said on Wednesday when the Tigers and head coach Chris Anstey introduced the 23-year old point guard.
"I just wanted to come somewhere that would give me the best chance to play and I feel that being here will do that. It was kind of an easy choice when I decided where I wanted to go."
It has been reported that Flynn's deal includes and NBA-out clause, but at this point the focus isn't about what will come after Melbourne but instead focusing on improving the teams 1-4 record heading into Friday's game and Flynn's NBL debut against the Adelaide 36ers (3-2).
More so, signing with the Tigers will afford Flynn to play some consistent minutes, something he was unable to secure in the NBA with the Wolves, Rockets and Blazers. After starting 81 games his rookie season of 2009-10 in Minnesota where Flynn averaged 13.5 points per game and named to the All-Rookie second team, a hip surgery set him back. What followed was a drop in numbers, playing time and bouncing around the league. Over his three years, Flynn appeared in 163 games, 90 starts, averaged 9.2 points, 3.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds, in 22.9 minutes per game.
Flynn coped with the frustration of the experience and now can even laugh it off.
"The cheerleaders got on the court more than me...I was on the sidelines a long time."
In some ways, Antsey can relate.
He was never a Top 10 pick like Flynn, but the former 7'0 center spent three seasons in the NBA after being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers (18th overall) in 1997 and spent a lot of time waiting for his turn on the sidelines. He was traded on draft day to the Dallas Mavericks, where he spent two seasons before being dealt again to the Chicago Bulls in 1999. In 23 NBA starts and 155 games played, Anstey averaged 5.2 points and 3.4 rebounds before returning to Australia where he won multiple MVP awards and championships.
Last June he was named the new head coach of the Tigers, and now he has an NBA point guard to run the show.
"I think you'll see a player who will enjoy this new situation and will have free license to play," Anstey said of Flynn.
Flynn said he's thankful for the trust that Anstey and the team has already shown him in the last couple of days that he's been with the team and that he is looking forward to getting out and running the floor. He's also excited about the chance to play in front of a crowd in Melbourne.
"I'm not sure who knows me here," Flynn said with a smile.
"After Friday, they will definitely know me here."
Jonny Flynn Introduces Himself To The NBL (via nbl)