What we learned in Sixers’ preseason win over Pistons


(Disclaimer: This is more of an opinion style piece. All hot takes belong to me and are definitely encouraged to be debated.)

Matisse Thybulle

That’s it. That’s the whole article.

All jokes aside, in a game without Ben Simmons and Al Horford, the Sixers were still able to secure a captivating 106-86 win over the lackluster Detroit Pistons.

Just by the eye test, Thybulle looked special. On the night of his first start, he logged 25 minutes of work. In this time, he shot 2/5 overall, being 1/3 from three and 2/2 at the line. This allowed him to gather 7 points, 1 assist, and 6 rebounds. However, it was his defense that stood out to me. The rookie added a pair of blocks and four steals. Thybulle’s speed and aggression in all courts is going to make him a force to be reckoned with. His basketball IQ and energy are through the roof, allowing him to read plays and always know where his next move will be. He’s going to be a quick fan favorite.

The 20th pick in this year’s NBA draft has now accumulated 12 steals in the preseason, the best in the entire NBA. Along with this, his 6 blocks are good enough for 9th in the league. Newly acquired teammate Josh Richardson knows this kid is going to be a special defender. After the game, Richardson said, “I think he has a chance to be one of the elite defenders in the NBA,” which is obvious high praise from a fellow elite defender.

Coach Brett Brown also acknowledges the unique charm and calm demeanor of the rookie, stating after the game that, “When you talk to him, you don’t feel like you’re talking to a young kid. He’s sophisticated, at times, maybe beyond his years.”

The coaches’ high praise is only going to continue to develop confidence in the already charming Thybulle. The future is bright for this kid, he’s going to be something special.

Other New Faces

Josh Richardson got a chance to run some point guard, and made a good case to be our backup essentially. He logged 25 minutes, picking up 11 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal. A pretty nice night for the new Philly fella.

Summer league standout Norvel Pelle was able to stack 12 minutes of playing time. The 6’11 forward not only presents a towering 6’11, 216 lbs, frame but looked noteworthy in both ends of the court. He logged 13 points and five blocks. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t make the roster by midseason at the latest.

He brings energy to the backup, or even third-string unit, reminding me of a Richard Holmes 2.0.

Nonetheless, it’s #NorvelPelleSzn

Familiar Faces

As for a couple of Sixers’ vets, Jonah Bolden and Zhaire Smith did not look to be trending upward. Bolden is essentially a walking foul, and Zhaire looked sluggish the whole game. Bolden has 4 fouls in 12 minutes and made a basket on two tries. This brought him to a performance of 2 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds.

One positive though looked to be Furkan Korkmaz. I mean- he always tends to shine in the early parts of the preseason and summer, but last night he brought a ton of energy, and even was playing some solid defense. Hopefully, he can bring a shooting spark off the bench this season for the Sixers.

Joel Embiid is still playing on his personal minute’s restriction, as I’m sure after seeing what the Raptors were able to do by resting Kawhi, more teams will be taking the same approach. He was still able to rack up 22 minutes, dominating Thon Maker in the paint. The center out of Kansas grabbed 24 points and 8 boards, with 8 of those points coming from shooting 8/8 from the stripe.

Overall Analysis

The Philadelphia 76ers are going to continue their dominance over the Eastern Conference. Just from top to bottom, this roster is so deep. Even with the lesser acquisitions of Raul Neto, Trey Burke, and Kyle O’Quinn, each player knows their role. Aside from some shakiness out of Burke, all of the new faces-star or not- is playing a role in the team’s 4-0 start to the preseason.

This season is going to be a fun one. After seeing the energy and crowd at Wells Fargo Center for basically an irrelevant preseason game on a Tuesday in early October, I could see the passion from my fellow Philly fans. I expect a ton of excitement, and energy, and of course a fair share of boos.

This team’s season is destined for success. And we’ll be riding with them every step of the way, bringing you as much unique content as possible!

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports