Ranking Sixers’ 25-and-under players based on potential

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

93. . 25 years old. Philadelphia 76ers. Matisse Thybulle. 3. player

Ranking 25-and-under Sixers — 3. Matisse Thybulle

Matisse Thybulle — the oldest player on this list — occupies the No. 3 spot by default. He’s too gifted on the defensive end to rank lower than this. Thybulle has legitimate DPOY potential if he ever plays a full season of starters minutes. The flip side, of course, is that Thybulle has been schemed off the court in multiple postseasons now. And, at 25 years old, it’s fair to wonder if he has plateaued.

The offense/defense dichotomy is the story of Thybulle’s career. For every spectacular, mind-bending defensive play, there’s an equally infuriating moment on offense. He’s a bad shooter — let’s state in plainly — and he doesn’t have the skill to supplement the offense in other ways. He improved marginally as a cutter last season after Harden arrived, but in general, Thybulle is a player who opposing defenses are content to ignore. As they should, until he gives them reason not to.

Thybulle spent all summer working on his 3-point shot and open-court ball handling. He’s at least focusing on the right areas. Thybulle’s shot diet should be made up almost exclusively of spot-up 3s and dunks at the rim . If he can make defenses respect him beyond the arc, then his athleticism cutting to the rim becomes more dangerous. He’s also fast, and the Sixers are equipped to run quite frequently with Tyrese Maxey. Thybulle should lean into that.

In all likelihood, Thybulle will ever be an offensive star. But he doesn’t need to be. All he needs to do is hit 3s, move without the ball, and let his defense carry him the rest of the way. Thybulle has made two All-Defensive teams in three NBA seasons. There’s historic defensive potential there if he can stay on the court long enough to unearth it.