Improvements by Matisse Thybulle remain critical to Sixers’ success despite additions

Matisse Thybulle
March 23, 2022, Los Angeles, California, USA: Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks the ball during their NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday March 23, 2022 at Arena in Los Angeles, California. Lakers lose to 76ers, 121-126. (Photo by PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

Doc Rivers has a lot of new weapons after the haul Daryl Morey brought to the Sixers during the offseason, which many didn’t think was possible after the amount of talent they already had. The head coach, however, hasn’t lost sight of the fact that the new production on offense has to first come from those who are already on the team, such as Matisse Thybulle.

Thybulle isn’t exactly a shooter – known for his defensive skill set around the perimeter; his assignments have always been to take away the best offensive player on the opposing side, not to be one of them on his own.

Despite his clear strengths, coach Rivers tasked Matisse Thybulle with improving his shooting to add more offensive variety to the bench while new pieces like De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, and Daniel House Jr. take time to mesh together and develop chemistry.

Thybulle put in the work, but the progress hasn’t materialized yet. He’s started off 1-6 from beyond the arc in two preseason games against the Nets and Cavaliers.

Despite the slow start, coach Rivers has an optimistic outlook on Matisse Thybulle’s progress.

“Just saying, it’s a work in progress,” said Rivers on Saturday. “All we can ask is he puts in the time, and I think he’s worked as hard as anybody. He put in a lot of time when it’s shot, but there are so many things that go into it when you’re not a good shooter.”

And Matisse knows there’s a sense of urgency in developing his jumper. In a time when the Sixers’ title chase is entering its most vital stage, five points to go with two steals and two blocks isn’t going to cut it anymore. But he’s confident and reflective.

“I didn’t really have a chance to work on myself the last two offseasons.”, said Matisse Thybulle last week. “The first one was COVID, and there were no (available) gyms. The second one, I was working to win a medal at the Olympics with Australia, so there wasn’t a lot of space for me to just work on Matisse. So this was my first chance to have a whole offseason — a real, traditional offseason — and dedicate it solely to improving myself.”

The work is all there. Now it’s time to show Philadelphia the money, figuratively and literally, if he wants that extension. Matisse Thybulle has a qualifying offer for the 2023-24 season worth $6.27 million, like most players however, he would prefer to have an extension or new free agency deal instead.

On a crowded bench that looks to be going from a weakness to a strength in Philadelphia, Matisse Thybulle’s improvement has to translate into real-game situations quickly if he doesn’t want to lose his spot in the rotation.