Sixers: 2 potential trades to send Matisse Thybulle to Bulls

Matisse Thybulle, sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Matisse Thybulle, sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Bulls reportedly have interest in Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle, who was recently named to second team All-Defense for the second time in three NBA seasons. There is no denying Thybulle’s talent on the defensive end of the floor, but for Philadelphia, there are ample reasons to explore a trade.

Since the beginning of Joel Embiid’s NBA career, he has been at his most successful when surrounded by shooters. Now more than ever, it’s important to maximize the space around Embiid, because he’s better than ever at taking advantage of each sliver of weakness in the defensive coverage around him. Thybulle’s offensive incompetency is too costly in Philadelphia, and would be much better suited to a five-out team like Chicago.

Could the Sixers actually trade Matisse Thybulle to the Bulls?

Matisse Thybulle was very purposefully kept out of negotiations with Brooklyn in the lead-up to the James Harden trade (though one could logically point to his vaccination status as the potential hang-up there). The Sixers instead included Seth Curry, opting to invest further in Thybulle’s youth and two-way potential.

That trade, however, came before the playoffs. Thybulle was once again unplayable for extended stretches in the postseason. The Sixers lost his minutes more frequently than with any other reserve, and the opposing defenses — two very high level defenses in Toronto and Miami — were happy to let Thybulle break the backboard on open 3-point attempts. Nobody guards Thybulle when it really matters, and he’s not a good enough shooter to make defenses pay for ignoring him.  It’s free help to send at Embiid or Harden.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of base-level offensive competency in the NBA. No matter how impactful your defense is, it’s hard to be a quality NBA starter — or even NBA reserve — if you have zero discernible skill on the offensive end. Thybulle improved as a cutter and he’s athletic, but he’s an awful decision-maker who cannot dribble, shoot, or finish with touch at the rim. Unless you concede the wide-open backdoor cut, every Thybulle shot attempt is a win for the defense. That’s not sustainable in Philadelphia.

The Bulls could have more faith than me in Thybulle’s offensive development (generally players who improve as a shooter have some level of touch to indicate growth potential, which Thybulle does not). If so, the Sixers should try to make the trade before Thybulle is extension eligible and before another wayward postseason tanks his stock even further.