Why Doc Rivers should consider this starting lineup switch for 76ers

Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

At the conclusion of the 2021-22 NBA season, it seemed all but inevitable that Matisse Thybulle would not be on the Sixers’ roster this season. Not only had his on-court play, specifically his offense, not improved since entering the league, but also his vaccination status caused roster incontinuity during the playoffs that he was heavily criticized for.

During the month of December, Matisse increased his playing time and his 3-point shooting percentage has been an astounding 53%. That is not a typo! He shot 53% from three and 57% from the field overall in December. Compare that to November and his shooting percentages were 20% and 33% respectively. This sort of improvement is unheard of and it is not a one-game sample or a misleading stat. Month over month Thybulle has become a whole different player.

PJ Tucker, on the other hand, has been shooting more consistently this season, averaging 40% from the field and 38% from three. This is what the team expected with his offseason free agent signing, but one thing that has been noticeable is his age has shown at times. Something of note though is Tucker is being paid $33 million over 3 years. Do you think the front office would be thrilled if a player with that kind of contract was moved to the bench?

Is it time for Doc Rivers to swap Tucker and Thybulle?

Money should not be a determining factor when deciding who the best players on the team are and who should be a starter, specifically come playoff time. And I do not necessarily think it will. Tucker’s biggest strength comes from the fact that he guards a top starter on the opposing team and his impact would likely diminish on the second unit.

With that said though, Thybulle provides more speed and his length helps defend more passing lanes. If he continues to shoot like this, it will force Doc’s hand come playoff time to truly consider swapping Thybulle for Tucker in the starting lineup.