Sixers Called Out for ‘Idiotic Blunders’ as Thybulle & Joe Deals Haunt Team

Matisse Thybulle Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Say what you will about the Philadelphia 76ers‘ Process Era, it netted the team a franchise-altering, playoff series-tilting, MVP frontrunner in Joel Embiid.

It’s just that, with so many swings at the baseball, the Sixers’ Process Era looks less like Joe Dimaggio and more like Mario Mendoza.

More often than not, the big swings were big misses: Ben Simmons flamed out; Jimmy Butler went to South Beach after half a season in Philly; Markelle Fultz continues to haunt because of how a) Jayson Tatum, taken two spots after Fultz, has become an MVP candidate, b) he was unquestionably the best player on the Celtics’ Finals team last season, and c) Fultz is quietly reviving his career in Orlando; Zaire Smith, whom the Sixers traded Mikal Bridges for shortly after drafting the Villanova star, excelled in Phoenix and now Brooklyn as a three-and-D-wing; Nerlens Noel was just bought out by his fifth team in eight seasons; Jahlil Okafor isn’t even playing professional basketball anymore.

It’s a doozy. But even the players Philadelphia bought low on failed to develop in Philadelphia before thriving in other environments. That was the case for Isaiah Joe, who the Sixers cut after preseason camp, but is now third in the league in three-point percentage with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And Matisse Thybulle somehow found his own shooting stroke, going five-of-six from three last night for the Trailblazers. Thybulle was shipped to Portland for Jalen McDaniels before this year’s deadline.

After these latest personnel and development failures, basketball writer Ben Detrick summed up the Sixers’ recent track record as “idiotic blunders.”

“Sixers’ treatment of Thybulle and Isaiah has crossed the rubicon of embarrassing to disqualifying. You can’t make idiotic blunders and pretend they don’t matter,” Detrick tweeted.

In five games with the Blazers, Thybulle’s three-point rate is a mind-bogglingly 54.5% on 4.4 attempts per game. Joe is shooting 45.3% from three in 53 games with the Thunder this season.

Morey Issues Statement on Isaiah Joe Move

It’s not that the Sixers are starved for three-point shooting. The Sixers are fourth in the league in three-point percentage for the season. But in a league built around spacing and a team anchored by a center, having too much three-point shooting is impossible.

Enter Isaiah Joe. A preseason roster cut, Joe never averaged more than 3.7 points per game in Philadelphia. But as noted, he’s found a niche as a bench-unit scorer in Oklahoma City.

Why the Sixers simply moved on from Joe remains baffling. Daryl Morey, for his part, has remained mum on the subject until recently. The Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations opened up to Philly Voice about the controversial decision recently.

“We’re not going to have playing time for everyone,” Morey said. “So sometimes, we’re going to cut players who are very good players. And we’re happy for those that go on to do great things,” Morey explained when asked about cutting Joe last fall. “There’s a lot of factors that go into it, including the current contract or the goals of the season to win a title. We could start bringing in worse players so we never cut a good one.”

To be fair, the Sixers have a sharpshooter on the bench in Georges Niang (I also hear Furkan Korkmaz is somewhere on the roster, though I’d have to see it to believe it). Unfortunately, Niang is often a feast-or-famine shooter, and he’s currently in a drought — he’s down to 29% from deep over the Sixers’ last seven games.

The Sixers, as a result, have dropped to 11th in three-point rate over the last ten games.

Are Sixers Eyeing Reunion with Noel?

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, former Sixers big man Nerlens Noel and the Detroit Pistons have agreed to a buyout.

“Center Nerlens Noel and the Detroit Pistons have completed a contract buyout,” Wojnarowski said. “Noel can join a team and become eligible for a playoff roster.

With Noel now available as a free agent, the Sixers could potentially add him to the roster. Ahead of the trade deadline, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Sixers and Miami Heat were interested in trading for Noel.

If the Sixers did pull off a deal for Noel, he would become the latest attempt to find a quality backup big behind Embiid. The Sixers already waded into the post-buyout market with a deal for Dewayne Dedmon, who has yet to play for the Sixers as he deals with injury.

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