by Matthew Brennan, NBA D-League.com
December 2, 2010: Minnesota's Jonny Flynn will be blazing a new trail on Friday night when he plays his first game on assignment with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft has yet to play in a game this season while recovering from a hip injury, and will the first NBA player assigned to the NBA D-League strictly for the purposes of rehabbing from an injury. After finishing practice with the Timberwolves on Thursday, Flynn took some time to speak to NBA D-League.com about his expectations for his NBA D-League debut on Friday. Flynn and the Skyforce will face the Iowa Energy at 8 p.m. ET, and you can watch the action for free in HD, live on NBA Futurecast.
Jonny, how excited are you to finally get back in action when you play in Sioux Falls on Friday?
Flynn: "I cannot wait. I have not played competitive basketball for over four months, I'm talking about pickup, rec-league, anything. Just to be able to get back on the floor and get my rhythm back and shake a little of the rust off is going to be great for me in this game on Friday."
You just finished your practice with the Timberwolves, how did that experience go?
Flynn: "It felt good, but you can't do something that is the same as a game situation in practice. There's a lot of talking in practice, a lot of halfcourt things, not really a lot of continuous movement up the court for a long period of time. This is why I'm all for this move, I can't wait to get out there because I think it's going to be a great thing for me."
How did the decision to join the Skyforce on assignment come about?
Flynn: "It was pretty much a mutual decision. I'm a big baseball fan, and when players there get hurt, whether they are in single-A or making $20 million a year, they have to go to the minor leagues to get back into whatever rotation they are in. You can't simulate things that happen in games in practice situations, you are only going to get that with refs on the court, real opponents, people in the crowd. Seeing how baseball players do it, it was kind of an easy decision to go to Sioux Falls and play in a rehab game."
What are your expectations for Friday's game?
Flynn: "I'm going to try to play quite a bit, just to see how I feel during the game, after the game, and the next day. I don't have a set amount of minutes allotted, but I'm definitely going to play a good amount of time to see how I feel."
The Timberwolves usually play a preseason game in Sioux Falls, was that a good experience during your rookie season?
Flynn: "Yes, we played Toronto there in an exhibition game. It was an electric atmosphere, the fans were into it the whole game. There are great basketball fans in Sioux Falls and it's a great atmosphere for a game."
There's been talk about the new CBA enabling any player to be assigned to the NBA D-League for the purpose of injury rehab. Do you think NBA players would welcome that opportunity?
Flynn: "I don't see why a player would not want to do that. You're probably going to go down and play a larger amount of minutes than you would play in the NBA in your first game back from an injury. Just having the chance to go out there and play free and relaxed, there's a big difference in being able to play in a game compared to just doing something in practice when you're trying to get something accomplished."
A few of your teammates like Sundiata Gaines and Anthony Tolliver have played in the NBA D-League. Did they give you any insight into what playing in the league is like?
Flynn: "I talked to them, they told me it's going to be fun. There are a lot of hungry guys in the NBA D-League, and that's what I'm looking for. I know whoever I'm going to be playing against is going to be coming after me, because they see me as a name. That's going to bring the best out of them, and it's going to bring the best out of me, which will bring the best out of everyone. This is going to be a fun time, and it's going to be competitive basketball and you're going to see a good game on Friday night."
How long do you expect to be with the Skyforce, and are you looking forward to being ready to play in the NBA again?
Flynn: "We don't know, we're just going to see how it feels after this game and take it one day at a time. That's how I've been dealing with this whole process. I can't wait to get back and play with those guys in Minnesota, we have great chemistry off the court, so I can't wait to get out there and put that Minnesota Timberwolves jersey back on."