Joel Embiid was not too happy with what his ex-teammate, Matisse Thybulle, had to say about his time with the Philadelphia 76ers. After the Sixers defeated Thybulle’s current team, the Portland Trail Blazers, on March 10, Embiid responded to his former teammate’s comments.
“I loved him when he was here,” Embiid said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “I kinda told him I kinda was not happy with some of the comments that was made lately, but it’s whatever.”
For context, Thybulle told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer before the game that “there was a lot more fear-based play in Philadelphia as opposed to what I’m doing here in Portland.”
Embiid followed up his comment by humanizing Thybulle, explaining that playing for the Sixers is not an easy endeavor.
“Playing in Philly is not easy,” he added. “It’s a lot of pressure that comes with it. Every year, you’re expected to win. It doesn’t even matter if they believe that you have a good team or a good enough team to win a championship. That’s the expectations and that’s why there’s not a lot of people that can play here and survive here.”
Matisse Thybulle’s Thoughts on Struggles With Sixers
Thybulle gave his candid thoughts on what it was like falling out of the Sixers’ rotation while taking with Pompey, and how that compared to Portland.
“It’s hard when you are on such a talented team and a team that has so much demand to win now,” Thybulle told Pompey. “And for whatever reason, I fell out of favor in the lineup or whatever you want to call it. And I didn’t really feel like there was an opportunity to really showcase it.
“Now, it feels like I have all the opportunity in the world. The opportunity is there, and it’s going to continue to be there. I’m only receiving encouragement to take advantage of it.”
Thybulle then delved into what he meant when he said there was more “fear-based play’ in Philadelphia compared to Portland.
“Any player that’s playing out of a place of fear is going to struggle,” he said. “Like there’s going to just be friction in everything you try to do. But when you play for a place of just discipline and receptiveness to what the game’s giving and what you are reading from it. I think there’s a lot more opportunity.”
Since joining the Trail Blazers, Thybulle has averaged 7.3 points, four rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.1 steals while shooting 44.1% from the field and 40.4% from three in 11 games.
Doc Rivers Explains How Matisse Thybulle Fits in Portland
Before the Sixers took on the Trail Blazers, head coach Doc Rivers voiced his excitement to see the former Sixer, believing he could play well next to Damian Lillard.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him,” Rivers said, per Ky Carlin of SixersWire. “I don’t want him to do great, obviously, but I think it’s a great place for him. I think playing along Dame and watching Dame work will help him as well at his position. You’re guaranteed to get open stuff with Dame. You have to.”
Rivers used the Trail Blazers game against the Boston Celtics on March 8 as an example of how Lillard could help Thybulle on the offensive end.
“Watching Boston last night, they committed two and three guys to the guy (Lillard), and so you can cut, move, space, you’re gonna get a lot of stuff,” Rivers said. “He’s (Thybulle) getting minutes there, which I think is important for him.”