Matisse Thybulle’s Offense has Developed Ahead of Schedule

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers have experienced a lot of surprises that have led to the team seeing a lot of success to start the season. Joel Embiid has played in some back to backs, Ben Simmons has knocked down not one but two shots from beyond the arc and Furkan Korkmaz has finally emerged to become a solid everyday role player. However, the biggest surprise so far this season has to be rookie Matisse Thybulle’s play on both ends of the floor.

When the 76ers traded up to draft Thybulle in the 2019 NBA Draft, the hope was they were adding a strong defensive-minded player who will hopefully develop into a nice 3-and-D wing player. However, he has exploded so far in the month of December, averaging 9.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 60% from beyond the arc. Although it is still only early December, it is safe to say that Thybulle’s development on the offensive end has come along much faster than anyone had thought when he first broke into the league.

Early in the season, Thybulle was a streaky shooter and struggled adapting to the NBA game. He struggled to get consistent minutes as he was adjusting to the speed of the NBA game. After one quarter of the season, he has finally settled in and is starting to thrive in his role as one of the first players off the bench. Even with his early struggles from deep, he is now shooting 46.3% from on 3-point shots while taking a little over two attempts per game.

He has also stepped up in some huge moments over the past couple of weeks. He posted a career-high 20 points, including six 3-pointers, in a win against the rival Toronto Raptors this past Sunday. He now seems to be playing with confidence on both ends of the floor and he is doing a good job bringing energy to the game whenever he steps onto the floor.

One big issue coming into the season for the 76ers was whether they would have enough outside shooters. Thybulle, at least over the past handful of games, has done a good job providing offense from 3-point range for the 76ers. Philadelphia is a different team when Thybulle is on the floor logging significant minutes. When he plays at least 12 minutes, the Sixers are 12-1. 

His play on the defensive end has never been questioned: He has been the guy the team thought he was on that end of the floor since opening night. However, his offensive struggles made it tough for him to see a lot of time on the court on a nightly basis early in the season. Now that he has come along as a shooter there is no question that moving forward Thybulle will be one of the first guys off the bench every night. 

The main thing that Thybulle needs now is to not get caught committing cheap fouls. His one weakness on defense has been being over aggressive, which often resulted in him getting in foul trouble. This weakness, combined with his offensive struggles early in the season, cost him some significant time on the court. If he can become a more disciplined defender and continue to knock down shots from deep his spot is solidified in the rotation. There could even be a case that he could make his way into head coach Brett Brown's playoff rotation.