As the Sixers inch closer to All-Star weekend, halfway through the season, and trade deadline, you think about changes Daryl Morey could make to this team to get a boost come playoff time. You may think to look towards another team via trade (which might be the ultimate choice), but maybe the guy we need has been right under our noses this entire time?
Philadelphia is 39 games into the season, and they find themselves as the 5th seed in the east with a record of 24-15. While injuries may have altered our season so far, you could take a good look at this team and tell they aren't performing at the level they are expected to.
Matisse Thybulle seems like the obvious major fix to some, but not to others. His minutes have been on the rise, but that's not clearly enough. January 2nd he played 8 minutes, January 4th was 21 minutes, January 6th was 12 minutes, January 8th was 23 minutes. What does this tell you? Well, it basically means that his minutes aren't consistent and doesn't have a promised role in the lineup like he should. Myself, and many others believe that he should be getting around 15-20 minutes on a nightly basis.
Thybulle currently leads the Sixers in defensive rating (101.2) and net rating (11.2). He is 2nd in the NBA in defensive rating, and 7th in net rating (stat taken from NBA.com with players over 20 games played). Thybulle also has the 4th best +/- (+2.7) on the team.
He got some praise from Philadelphia's head coach, Doc Rivers after an overtime win against the Pacers. "I just think Matisse is playing terrific defense...It's really helped us. He's staying aggressive". Doc continues to go on and talk about how Indiana was smart and started trapping because Thybulle was on the court, so Rivers had to sub him out.
Thybulle has many pros, but with that comes the cons. His offensive ability is a big red flag for Doc Rivers and that's the main reason for the inconsistent minutes. This season has been his biggest jump it seems, offensively. I'm not talking about his on-ball skills. I am referring to his off-ball talent. Thybulle has developed into a threat as a cutter to the rim, and that's where most of his points (2.5 PPG) this year have come. Yes, we can talk about his 3 ball (32.7%) which has been his best since his rookie year (35.7%). His hot spots come from the left (42.9%) and right (40%) corner. Matisse sits himself in the dunkers spot or in the corner. When teams fall asleep defensively, Thybulle makes you pay with a backdoor cut to the rim for an easy layup or flashy dunk.
Tyrese Maxey took it to the media after their win yesterday against the Detroit Pistons. "At this point, I think they were passing it to him...He's good at getting his hands on a lot of deflections, a lot of balls and stuff like that."
Thybulle is known for being one of the league's best in deflections, and steals.
Danuel House Jr. was supposed to be the Thybulle kind of player (with better offense) but that has not worked out so far this season as House has recently been getting DNP's and struggling to find his groove as he is shooting 33% from outside (A hair better than Thybulle).
When you look at the stats or do the eye test, it becomes confusing on how Thybulle has played so little this season. When you look back at the 2021-2022 season and playoffs, it seems that Thybulle has not gained that trust from Doc Rivers, and even Daryl morey as you see him constantly in trade rumors.
The picture above shows the Sixers best 3 lineups. The common factor between all is that Matisse Thybulle is in them. These lineups in the picture above have a +/- average of +11.6. While it may not come as a surprise to you, the Sixers 5 best +/- lineups on the court all have Thybulle in them. The Sixers are 9-0 when Matisse plays 20+ minutes (hmm maybe that says something?).
Daryl Morey has talked about this in the past that come playoff time, it is much easier for teams to guard the Sixers with only 4 offensive threats on the court instead of 5. Thybulle needs to expand his offensive game for him to become a viable option come playoff time.
While I'm not saying Matisse should be getting starter minutes, he should definitely be getting more recognition and minutes. Unfortunately, the choice isn't up to the fans of Philadelphia, its up to Doc Rivers who is known to make questionable decisions. So all we have is hope...We can only hope that Rivers makes the right decisions down the line. Who knows, maybe in a month this all won't matter. The trade deadline isn't too far away, maybe Thybulle will be in another uniform in a few months. We will see.