Sixers: Yes to P.J. Tucker, but don’t undervalue Matisse Thybulle

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

If you are like the rest of us rabid, diehard Philadelphia 76ers fans, then you have surely been following the swirling rumor mill surrounding the team’s upcoming plans to make moves this offseason. As well as what to do with the number 23 pick in tomorrow’s NBA draft. As disappointing as the 76ers’ early playoff exits have been lately, the offseason has been just as much fun.

Speculation and hope are exciting. However, yesterday the news that P.J. Tucker might be available filled the internet, and all of the local stories were about the team trying to find ways to package Matisse Thybulle and the number 23 pick to free up cap space to land Tucker. Everyone who follows the Sixers knows that a fearless, smart, tough-as-nails competitor is exactly what this team needs, but at what cost?

If there is a way to get Tucker, it is absolutely worth exploring it, but it seems as though the “trade Thybulle” fervor has pushed too far. The whole league watched Thybulle and the 76ers struggle with ways to keep him on the floor in the playoffs without an offensive game, so it’s likely that his trade value dipped. However, executives around the country still drool at his athleticism and defensive prowess.

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The Sixers shouldn’t give up Thybulle and the 23rd pick to get Tucker.

There aren’t more than 2-3 guys in the NBA who can take over a game on defense the way that he can and he’s widely considered to be the best perimeter defender in the game. It feels unlikely based upon the fact that he has never been an offensive player. However, if he were ever to improve his ball-handling, gain the confidence to consistently take and make jump shots. Then he could become the most valuable role player in the league, and a borderline all-star.

Personally, I don’t think Thybulle ever makes that leap, but the potential is undeniable. If he blossomed somewhere else and the Sixers didn’t get anything productive in return, the pain and failure would be far worse than the sting of losing stud Mikal Bridges for the now busted Zhaire Smith.

That potential and Thybulle’s “leap off the screen” footage should have a few teams excited about the prospect of adding him to their team. Every team has that one coach who thinks, “I can fix that guy’s shot”. Surely there is value to be gained from a Thybulle trade.

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Thybulle is not untradeable and probably should be moved this summer, but there should be value gained from his departure. If he is part of a move that brings in a good starter, or maybe even a star, then yes, move him. If he is needed to be part of a good deal that trades away Tobias Harris, then yes, move him. However, he has too much potential to ever move him simply for the sake of getting rid of him.

The current stories are all making it sound like the 76ers are simply giving away Thybulle and the number 23 pick in exchange for cap space. That feels like way too much to give up for two pieces with as much potential as those two parts have. This would be getting dimes on the dollar just to free up space to sign a 37-year-old, non-scoring, undersized forward who averaged 28 minutes per game last year. This is too much and this story has gone too far.

Tucker is a beast, a fearless junkyard dog who brings toughness with him wherever he goes, but as great as he has been, his best days are definitely behind him. The team needs to add players with his attitude, and his mindset, but it does not actually have to be him.

I would not trade Thybulle and the 23rd pick straight up for Tucker, and neither should the Sixers. I expect to see moves made in the upcoming days, but I am really trusting 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey to make moves that make sense and provide equal value.

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