While there has been a lot of speculation about a Matisse Thybulle trade this offseason, Daryl Morey seems keen on keeping him as a member of the Sixers at least to start this season (barring any Kevin Durant deal).
The former Washington Husky is a standout on defense, being one of a short list of players who could realistically claim the title of the best defender in the NBA. However, for as good as he is on defense, on offense, he is often viewed as a liability, hence why so many Sixers fans were willing to trade Thybulle for someone who fits the offense a little bit more conventionally.
Yet, Matisse Thybulle remains on the team, with praise from his President of Basketball Operations once again proving that Morey knows what he is doing.
Matisse Thybulle did not have a good playoff showing in terms of shooting. While Thybulle made 45.8% of his shots, his three-point percentage plummeted on a very low volume. The defensive-minded wing shot 28.6% from three on 1.6 attempts per game. His scoring output was a low of 3.0 points per game, and he only earned roughly 15 minutes per game.
While this could be from playoff jitters or an extreme shooting slump, it was clear that something wasn’t working for the first team all-defensive team member. While that is true, Thybulle also proved two things during the season. The first is that he can improve, and the second is that James Harden makes him better.
Thybulle played a total of 66 regular season games last year for the Sixers. In Matisse’s first 33 regular season games, he averaged 5.7 points per game on 47.8% shooting from the field, 71.4% shooting from the line, and 27.7% shooting from beyond the arc. This could have been chalked up to Thybulle not knowing his role in the offense or the lack of playmaking on the early Sixers squad.
The Sixers’ wing was able to start turning it around in the second half of the season, though. In the final 33 games, taking place between January 26th, 2022, and April 10th, 2022, Thybulle’s counting stats stayed roughly the same. 5.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. The biggest change came in his percentages, though. Thybulle made his field goal percentage go from 47.8 to 52.5.
His free throw percentage went from 71.4 to 82.8. Most importantly, his three-point percentage jumped 8.4 points to 36.1%. And while people could make the argument that this was because of Harden and not Tisse’s hard work, that just proves how well James Harden and Matisse Thybulle fit next to each other.
While Matisse Thybulle is far from the perfect player, his elite defense and improving offensive game makes him incredibly valuable to the Sixers. Thybulle will hopefully prove a lot of people wrong this year, and if he can shoot even average from beyond the arc, he will be one of the key pieces for the Philadelphia 76ers this year and beyond.