Philadelphia 76ers: Matisse Thybulle impresses in first Summer League

Matisse Thybulle | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Matisse Thybulle | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Matisse Thybulle showcased his two-way potential in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2019 Las Vegas run.

Philadelphia 76ers top draft pick Matisse Thybulle got his first chance this past week to prove to fans that he was worth trading up for, and he did not disappoint. After a bit of a bumpy Game One, Thybulle continuously flashed the elite 3-and-D potential that made him a top-20 pick in the first place.

Even adjusting from college to Summer League ball is a big jump for a lot of players. Playing within oneself goes a long way for those looking for success on that level. In the Sixers’ first game against the Bucks the rookie seemed to be forcing his game too much, leading to over-dribbling and a less than ideal four turnovers.

Luckily for the Summer Sixers, Thybulle quickly put these struggles behind him and averaged only two turnovers per game in the last three games the team played. In these games, not only did he play within his limits, he also showed that he could be a capable and reliable shooter at the NBA line. There were concerns that his stroke would not translate to the highest level due to his unsteady 3-point percentage at Washington, but he has put those concerns to bed at this point. Over those last three games he went 8/19 from downtown, just over 42 percent.

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Another thing to like was his budding chemistry with 2018 top pick Zhaire Smith. Both players are very hard workers on the court. Not only do they both shine on defense, but their elite athleticism looks very impressive in transition, and also helps them as they move without the ball offensively. Smith has shown a bit more playmaking ability to this point, but they both seem to have a good feel for each other’s game and their role on the court.

Finally, and most importantly, Matisse Thybulle was not drafted for his offense. Standing at 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, Thybulle wreaked havoc on college offenses to the tune of 3.5 steals per game, 2.2 blocks per game, and a national defensive player of the year trophy.

Some questions have been raised about how his defensive game would translate due to that success perhaps being inflated by the 1-3-1 zone that Washington played. However he did his best to erase a lot of those by continuing his elite off-ball disruption, deflecting around three passes per game and coming up with two steals per game as well. One area he can improve is definitely the adjustment to playing on-ball, but even his presence in passing lanes will work wonders while playing with proven on-ball menaces such as Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson.

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There is no debate that the 2019 Philadelphia 76ers need depth. Matisse Thybulle has proven so far that he is up to the challenge. His great instincts and length on defense combined with a clearly improving 3-point shot will go a long way for the Sixers as they look to make a deep run this postseason.