Time can be hard to find in the daily grind of a professional athlete. Between the rigors of a COVID-impacted season and an Olympic medal run, Matisse Thybulle just didn’t have extra minutes to log over the past two summers on the necessary work.
With a shiny bronze hanging in the Aussie’s trophy case, Thybulle revealed that he spent this offseason “solely dedicated to improving myself.” The Sixers defensive stopper poured all his energy into shooting, which was the mission assigned to him by Doc Rivers.
Thybulle, a two-time All-Defense selection, specifically focused on catch-and-shoot opportunities and corner triples. He shot a disappointing 31.3% from deep last season as teams often left him open.
“A lot of it was shooting, shooting related,” Thybulle said of what he worked on. “It’s hard to create defensive situations in an offseason when it’s you and a rebounder. But doing what I could conceptually and film-wise on the defensive end. But mostly just working on myself offensively, whether it was ball-handling in the open court or corner threes, and just catch-and-shoot, doing things off the move.”
Fixing a crooked shot involves tinkering with mechanics. It could be as easy as changing your grip on the basketball or straightening your elbow – two tips Herb Magee provided to Ben Simmons, free of charge – and the person has to be willing to do it over and over and over again.
Thybulle did it. He put the work in. What kind of work? Well, it took him a few minutes to explain it.
“I guess you could say condensing my shot down,” Thybulle said. “Getting rid of wasted movement, which allows for more accuracy and consistency.”
Thybulle: ‘I Want to Hit 100% of My Shots’
Thybulle was laughing before the answer left his lips. A reporter asked him if he had set any goals for the year, perhaps a specific shooting percentage? “I would like to hit 100% of my shots this season,” he said.
That would be quite the jump for a guy who has never shot better than 35.7% in a single NBA season. He hit that mark his rookie year, although he wasn’t exerting near the same energy he does nowadays on the defensive end where he’s often matched up against the opposition’s best scorer.
The addition of P.J. Tucker should help him conserve a bit. He’ll take that assignment to start games, but Thybulle still expects to reprise his role as a lock-down defender. The Sixers, to a man, expect to be the best defensive team in the NBA. Joel Embiid already put it out there.
“How good could we be? I think we could set the standard for how good you could be as a team defensively,” Thybulle said. “I think as far as what it will take to get there is just a level of being bought in, being able to sacrifice yourself for it … whether it’s being tired or being right, just doing whatever is necessary for the team.
“And, like I said earlier, these new guys and the guys we got back, and the level of commitment that can just be felt throughout the gym, I think we have everything we need to make that happen.”
Ben Simmons Jokes About 3-Point Shooting
Sixers fans no longer have to feign excitement every time a new video emerges of Ben Simmons stroking a 3-pointer in an offseason workout. Those highlights piled up again this summer, causing mass hysteria among Brooklyn Nets fans.
Is this the year the diva point guard actually makes a few jumpers in a game? Maybe, but probably not.
Simmons was asked how many triples he was planning to shoot during Nets Media Day and his response was priceless: “Shoot, who knows?”
It was six years of not knowing in Philly. His final stat line from deep: 5-of-34 (14.7%) in 275 regular-season games.