Matisse Thybulle Disappoints in Sixers’ Preseason Opener Against Nets

Matisse Thybulle Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks to pass over Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

There was quite a bit to like about the Philadelphia 76ers‘ preseason opener against the Brooklyn Nets. For starters, the Sixers trounced Brooklyn 127-108 in a game that saw the Sixers lead by double digits for spurts of the game.

Tyrese Maxey continued his wunderkind rise, picking up right where he left off last season to the tune of 20 points in 14 minutes. Paul Reed showed some chops with three steals and 10 points. Even Furkan Korkmaz made a strong appearance, popping off for 15 points on 6-12 shooting from the field.

Many eyes were also focused squarely on Sixers defensive ace Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle spent much of training camp bragging about his offensive adjustments, with even Joel Embiid having been convinced.

But Thybulle left fans scratching their heads after Thybulle finished with just three points on 1-4 shooting. Even worse, he left points on the floor after several mishandled cuts and bobbled drives.

“Consider me a skeptic,” Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice wrote on Monday night. An ideal outcome for the Sixers would be not having to rely on [Thybulle] too much this season.”

Fortunately, Thybulle’s jumper did look much improved, as fans noted on Twitter.

Fans Take Note of Thybulle’s Improved Jumper

One positive sign from Thybulle was the display of a much smoother jump shot. Thybulle’s been criticized in the past for a strange catapult-y shot that hurls back before the wing releases. By contrast, his new shot appears to have a higher release point, eliminating potential variance in aim and allowing him to better shoot over smaller defenders.

If Thybulle can effectively develop an outside shot, he’ll be well on his way to developing into the three-and-D wing that the Sixers hoped he would become. But Thybulle has a long way to go to prove those doubters wrong with a career three-point rate of 32.4%.

But a consistent shot will enable the Sixers to expert more with lineup packages and allow Thybulle to stay on the court for extended stretches. Last season, the All-Defense Second Teamer was excellent on that end of the floor. But against well-equipped opponents like the Miami Heat (and even less-equipped ones like the Raptors), Thybulle’s offensive weaknesses killed the Sixers. Teams could effectively shade away from Thybulle, forcing the Sixers in an effective four-on-five setup on offense.

It’s that lack of offensive development that has landed Thybulle on several trade radars over the summer.

Thybulle Involved in Several Sixers Trade Proposals

Over the summer, nearly every Sixers trade proposal featured Thybulle’s name. And there was no shortage of candidates liked to Philadelphia this summer: Kevin Durant, Buddy Hield, Eric Gordon, just to name a few.

And a deal for the latter of those names was actually almost pulled off, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

“[Thybulle] was vilified by Sixers fans and later shopped in potential trades during the offseason. The Sixers tried to acquire Houston Rockets wing Eric Gordon and were using Thybulle as an asset, even attempting to get a third team to participate, according to multiple league sources,” Pompey reported ahead of training camp last week.

If Thybulle’s jumper develops, the Sixers might be enticed to hang on to their prized wing. But with PJ Tucker projected to take over as the team’s top defensive starter, Thybulle’s excellent play on defense might not be enough to keep him in Philadelphia.

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