You won’t be able to tell just by looking at the stat sheet, but Matisse Thybulle has seen substantial improvement this season for the Sixers.
The second-year player out of Washington has quickly become an elite defender and would be known as his team’s best defender if they weren’t also blessed with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Thybulle has not only added more skills defensively but continued to perfect the skills that he showed last season.
Probably the most impressive of his improvements is his ability to contest shots. Thybulle was clearly an off-ball defender last season, and it showed in a few ways, one of which being his tendency to foul jump shooters. Flash forward a year, and Thybulle has become much more effective at closing out shots.
Thybulle played Fox brilliantly all game especially come the fourth quarter. While De’Aaron Fox isn’t known as a scorer like LaVine and Beal, he’s a complete offensive weapon, one that Matisse Thybulle shut down. Fox even went so far as to say after the game that Matisse Thybulle is “one of the best” defenders in the league.
Thybulle has shown to at least be one of the most active defenders. He leads the entire NBA in deflections per 36 minutes this season with 5.8, more than Ben Simmons and former Sixers Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel, and T.J. McConnell.
Should The Sixers Keep Thybulle?
With the NBA deadline right around the corner, the question posed many is should the Sixers make a “major move“? The team has the best record in their conference and second-best overall; their team has shown both star power and depth but would a move for a player like Kyle Lowry seal their title aspirations?
The Sixers would certainly be better by adding better players; that much is obvious, but the team would be wise to hold on to Matisse Thybulle in any deal. Obviously, if the Bulls decided to trade Zach LaVine and Thybulle is the only thing holding the deal back that is different, but frankly, that’s an unrealistic situation at this point.
In almost any other deal, Matisse Thybulle should be considered untouchable. His defensive prowess is too important, and he’s a major reason why the Sixers rank second in the entire league in defensive rating.
Even a player of Kyle Lowry’s caliber wouldn’t be worth what you would lose in Thybulle (mostly considering you’d need to give up Danny Green and a first as well). Thybulle’s age also plays a major factor as he’s just 24 years old. He has the potential to be a major piece of the Sixers’ future.