The Philadelphia 76ers have a trio of former players, they had no use for, doing well on other NBA teams. Is it because they have so much talent good players can not find a role, or simply coach Doc Rivers failing to see talent.
The return of Matisse Thybulle to Philly as not only a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, but a starter, has been part of a trend this season: When the 76ers get rid of player, he goes to another NBA team and plays well.
Thybulle can’t shoot right? That is why the Sixers had to get rid of him:
And do not forget that the 76ers cut Isaiah Joe because he could not shoot either. He ended up in Oklahoma City. How is he doing there?
Yeah, the 76ers don’t any of Joe’s long-range prowess (sarcasm).
Another player the Sixers got rid of was center Charles Bassey, because, with the pickup of Montrezl Harrell, there was no need for the 6-foot-11 second-year player on the roster. Right?
Bassey was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs and is now a part-time starter with them. Embiid does not need a solid backup, right?
All three players who the 76ers did not want on their roster anymore, seem to be thriving. The old trope from back when Brett Brown was the coach, seems to still be true: When players leave the 76ers, they remember how to shoot again.
Thybulle was making over 40-percent of his threes with Portland entering the Sixers game. Joe is among the leaders in three-point shooting percentage in the NBA,
Bassey has moved into the starting lineup of the Spurs with trade of Jakob Poeltl.
So why are these players doing so much better than they were with the 76ers? There are three theories on that.
Why do players Philadelphia 76ers do not want end up being good?
3. Look who they are playing for!
The 76ers are trying to win the NBA championship this season. The Thunder, Spurs and Trail Blazers are not (well, Portland wanted to be good, but things have kind of gone off the rails despite Damian Lillard’s best efforts).
As of now, the Spurs, Thunder and Trail Blazers’ records are not even good enough to make the Western Conference play-in tournament (although Portland and OKC are close).
These teams simply are not as talented as the 76ers. Guys who are benchwarmers here suddenly can find themselves with oodles of playing time – when their new teammates are not as good.
2. Rivers does not have a clue
I know this is the popular choice.
We all know how loathe Doc Rivers is to play young players. They do not get as much leeway as someone who might be stinking up the joint, but played for Rivers four years ago, before they were completely washed (see Jordan, DeAndre).
Bassey, Joe and Thybulle are all young players who need time to learn the ways of the NBA. Time that Rivers was not going to provide when he is looking to win now. As Thybulle put it to the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.
"It’s hard when you are on such a talented team and a team that has so much demand to win now,” Thybulle said. “And for whatever reason, I fell out of favor in the lineup or whatever you want to call it."
Joe and Bassey were yanked in and out for a few minutes in games during their time with the Sixers, but had no time to make typical rookie mistakes. Now, like Thybulle, they can relax and play their game, knowing playing time is there if they do well.
1. The 76ers are really talented, so no room
On a hopeful note, the plain truth might be, the 76ers are so freakin’ good, and so talented, that their scrubs are stars on other teams.
When Embiid misses a game, the team is 9-4, an amazing stat considering the team usually falls apart without him. Even when they were missing all of the ‘Big 3’, they still won a bunch of games and were competitive.
No Tobias Harris or PJ Tucker in the fourth quarter against Milwaukee? No problem. Playing without Harden in the second game of a back-to-back against a red-hot Timberwolves team? Easy win.
Remember how Shake Milton averaged 20 points a game when Harden and Maxey were out? He can barely get on the floor now (although that might be due to reason No. 2). But how do you get Thybulle and Joe minutes, when Milton can’t get much action?
The improved play of Paul Reed makes the need for Bassey moot. And Dewayne Dedmon has yet to get in a game, and he is the same type as Bassey.
Now, in three years, Joe, Bassey and Thybulle could well be needed by the 76ers, and the organization could rue the day they got rid of them.
But that day is not now.