76ers

2019 NBA draft profile: Bouncy defender Matisse Thybulle would fill Sixers' need

2019 NBA draft profile: Bouncy defender Matisse Thybulle would fill Sixers' need

Position: Guard/Forward

Height: 6-5

Weight: 195

School: Washington

Thybulle was born in Arizona, but spent seven years in Australia before moving back to the U.S. to Washington state. He developed his basketball skills a little later, but was a four-star recruit with offers from schools like Gonzaga and Oregon before choosing the University of Washington.

Thybulle spent four years with the Huskies. He started his collegiate career under Lorenzo Romar for two seasons before Romar was replaced with former Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins. Thybulle flourished in Hopkins’ zone defense, becoming two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He also won the Lefty Driesell Award as the nation’s best defender while leading the country in steals this past season.

Strengths

Thybulle was an elite defender in college. In Washington’s zone, he played like a free safety and wreaked havoc, averaging 3.2 steals and 1.9 blocks in his final two seasons. He has a reported seven-foot wingspan and is an outstanding athlete. While the zone gets some credit for the ridiculous numbers, Thybulle did average 2.4 steals and 1.2 block per 40 minutes in his first two seasons in a man-to-man scheme. He has the athletic profile and feet to guard perimeter players effectively.

He shot the ball well for the majority of his college career, hitting 35.8 percent of his threes on almost four attempts a game and 78.2 of his free throws. His experience playing four years can’t be discounted and could allow him to contribute immediately. He also seemed to understand, accept and flourish in his role as a secondary offensive option.

Weaknesses

The defensive evaluation is a little tough. His gaudy steal and block numbers were largely a result of his rover role in the zone. He was allowed to freelance and gamble, which may produce bad habits at the next level.

While he shot decently-to-elite during his first three seasons, his three-point percentage was way down this season, falling to 30.5 percent. He doesn’t have much in the way of shot creation skills and isn’t likely to develop into a primary scoring option, so his shot-making is critical.

Fit

In their range in the mid-20s, Thybulle might actually be the best fit. He’ll need to hit shots to give them a true 3-and-D threat, but he can give them something they’ve been missing since Robert Covington left in a switchable defender that can guard ones, twos and threes. The idea of Thybulle and Zhaire Smith as two bouncy, active perimeter defenders coming off the bench is incredibly intriguing. They’ll be a nightmare in transition and if they can both hit open shots, look out.

Thybulle left the combine early and there are reports that a team may have already made him a promise. The team to connect the dots to would be the Thunder, who hold the 21st overall pick. Thybulle fits the profile of player Oklahoma City generally covets.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Training camp is coming

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/YouTube

Sixers Talk podcast: Training camp is coming

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick go back and forth about JJ Redick's comments about the importance of team dinners, five Sixers landing on SI's top 100, and Joel Embiid saying he has lost 25 pounds.

• Discussing nuggets about Jimmy Butler and the quadruple doink from JJ Redick's appearance on the Lowe Post.

• Sports Illustrated's Top 100 for 2020 came out. The rankings are mostly fair but the guys have one gripe.

• Joel Embiid said he lost 25 pounds ... but he clearly didn't lose his sense of humor.

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JJ Redick believes Sixers needed more team dinners on road last season

JJ Redick believes Sixers needed more team dinners on road last season

Sixers fans are generally excited about the team's new roster construction heading into the 2019-2020 season, but there's no doubt the sharp shooting of JJ Redick will be missed.

Redick took his talents down to the bayou and will suit up for the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Redick joined ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe on Lowe's podcast this week to talk about his new opportunity. They also reflected a bit on his time with the Sixers and the tough loss to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the playoffs after four bounces of a Kawhi Leonard desperation shot.

Redick is open about the fact that the decision to move on to New Orleans was partly financial.

"I never got the sense that [the Sixers] didn't want to bring me back. Unfortunately, it came down to a little bit of economics," Redick said.

Jimmy Butler's decision to move on to the Miami Heat obviously precipitated that move. Redick speaks highly of Butler regardless of his decision.

"I love Jimmy. I would play with Jimmy again," Redick said. "He is in the upper tier of two-way players and in the upper tier of offensive players in the NBA, period."

So Redick has moved on to New Orleans, but it's tough not to think back to what could have been. There was a point in the Toronto series where Redick believed the Sixers were capable of winning the NBA championship last season.

"Joel [Embiid] and I spent some time together after the season and we talked about it. It was Game 4 [against Toronto] for us. We lost that game and I felt like, for most of that game, we had control, not just that game but that series. We had a chance to go up 3-1. That was the opportunity that we missed. You lose that game and it's 2-2 and you've got to win 2 out of 3 against Toronto, and that's a tough task."

One other interesting nugget from Redick's time in Philly was his sharing that he believed they didn't do enough team dinners on the road.

"I wish, I've tried, I wish, the team meal on the road is huge. I think it's huge. We didn't do it enough last year in Philly. We tried. It wasn't enough. Some of that, look, nobody wants to be forced to go to dinner. It's got to be real and authentic."

Some other choice quotes from the pod below.

On Ben Simmons getting a jumper.

"Ben works. He worked all of last offseason. I witnessed him during the season get his shots up after practice every day. I think he'll be able to shoot at some point. A lot of it is confidence. He can shoot a high enough clip when he's shooting spot shots that it should translate to shooting threes in a game. The video that went viral, looks to me like he's shooting with some confidence there."

Lowe also asked Redick about the dagger shot in Toronto.

"I was on the bench," Redick said. "I sort of had that perfect angle 'cause as soon as the ball had come inbounds, I sort of walked onto the baseline. Not on the court, but onto the baseline so I could get a straight-on view of the action. My memory may be a little jogged but my arms were crossed, I was watching the ball bounce around the rim, and it went in. I'm not sure I had any initial reaction, I think it was just shock. Part of you wants to walk off the floor and punch a wall and the other part of you, if I'm the Raptors, I'd want to dap up the people that I had just played a seven-game series against. I stayed on the court and talked to Kyle, Marc, Kawhi, Danny and those guys. Told them I hope they win a championship and walked off. Then you get back to the locker room and you see the emotion, I was obviously feeling emotional, then Joel started crying. Those are the sorts of moments that you don't forget. As much as you don't forget the shot, the aftermath of moments like that, you just don't forget. There's just a lot of raw emotion."

You can listen to Redick's entire conversation with Zach Lowe right here.

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