Matisse Thybulle has never been an offensive mastermind. Many fans think of him as an offensive liability, but they know he’s worth playing because of his elite ability on the defensive end. However, his offensive game has been different ever since the James Harden trade, in the absolute best way.
Matisse Thybulle — in the 14 games played with James Harden — has significantly improved in nearly every single statistical category. He is averaging 7.2 points per game, including a super-efficient 13 points against the Los Angeles Clippers during that time. Thybulle has also broken double digits in 6 out of 14 games with Harden. In the 45 games this season without Harden, Thybulle is averaging only 5.5 points per game, dropping 13 or more points only once. Without Harden, Thybulle has only scored double-digit points 5 times.
His shooting percentages are also significantly better with Harden than without him. Without him, Thybulle’s shooting percentages are 48.8% from the field, 29.0% from three, and 72.0% from the free-throw line. With Harden, Thybulle is nearly a member of the 50, 40, 90 club. Matisse is shooting 52.9% from the field, 42.3% from three, 88.9% from the free-throw line in games with James Harden.
In terms of defense, Thybulle remains elite with or without James Harden. His defensive statistic are virtually the same regardless of the Sixers’ new star. In games with Harden, Thybulle is averaging 1.6 steals per game and 1.1 blocks per game. Without Harden, he is averaging a nearly identical 1.7 steals per game and 1.1 blocks per game. It’s important to recognize Thybulle’s offensive growth while still seeing that his defense has not taken a backseat.
While Thybulle’s legendary work ethic is surely to be admired and thanked for his play in these games, The Harden Effect is also prevalent. Harden makes each of his teammates better, and there is no better example than the effect he has had on Thybulle. His elite playmaking and shot creation, along with his leadership, has allowed Thybulle to not only have tons of open shots but also to grow in confidence.
Harden’s value cannot be overlooked on this Philadelphia 76ers team. He consistently makes his teammates better, and that’s not to take away from the work and effort put in by Matisse Thybulle but to show a perfect blending of the variables. Matisse Thybulle has never looked better and is showing clear improvement in what he probably needs to improve the most.