Matisse Thybulle Has Become the NBA’s Top Wing Defender

OLYMPICS: AUG 05 Olympics Tokyo 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 05: Matisse Thybulle of Team Australia looks on during the Men’s Basketball Semifinal match between USA and Australia on Day 13 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Pete Dovgan/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)

Matisse Thybulle is the best defensive wing in the league. It is not a question, or a hot take, or unbelievable to say that. His abilities on the defensive end are elite, and his skills are unlike that of any other player in the league. His smothering defense has allowed him to regularly lock down players like Steph Curry and Zach LaVine. The one-time NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team selection (2021) is even setting career highs in steals per game with 1.8. Thybulle is also tying his career-high in blocks per game at 1.1.

Per 100 possessions, Thybulle is averaging 3.6 steals, which ranks 4th in the league (minimum 150 minutes played). Thybulle is also averaging 2.2 blocks per 100 possessions which currently ranks 40th in the league for all players but first in the league for all guards. The fact that Thybulle accomplishes so much from his position on the defensive end is incredible. Despite his significant and impressive stats on defense, the improvement on offense cannot be ignored, no matter how small the improvement is.

Matisse Thybulle is currently averaging career highs in multiple different categories. He has already set his career-high for games started with 17 already this year. His previous career-high was 14 during his rookie year. He is also setting his career-high in minutes per game with 25.8, a career-high in rebounds per game with 2.4, and steals per game with 1.8. More importantly, however, Matisse Thybulle is averaging career highs in multiple offensive categories.

The third-year defensive specialist out of Washington is shooting 48.7% from the field on the season on his highest field goals attempted (4.9) and field goals made (2.4) per game for his entire career. His previous career-high in field goal percentage was 42.3%, a stunning 6.4% jump. Thybulle has also apparently been listening to Joel who told him to shoot more often as he is taking a career-high amount of 3 pointers with 2.5 attempts per game.

While his percentage hasn’t gone up, Sixers fans are just grateful that their best defensive player has agreed to start shooting threes. With this high amount of threes being taken, Thybulle’s 2 point percentage has taken a leap as well to 69.2% from the field, a far cry from last season’s 44.4% and his career-high of 61.0%. With all of this offensive growth, it makes sense why Thybulle is suddenly averaging his career-high in points per game with 5.8.

While Thybulle is still far from an offensive threat, he is still continuously showing improvement and growth. For him to start shooting more often at higher percentages without the Sixers’ best playmaker suiting up for the entire season speaks even louder to the ability and growth from Thybulle. The 76ers recently called Matisse “nearly untouchable,” and while that mindset may not sit right with many fans, it is easy to see why the Sixers are so keen on keeping him.

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