76ers

Can Matisse Thybulle be an immediate contributor for Sixers? 'I don't see why not'

Can Matisse Thybulle be an immediate contributor for Sixers? 'I don't see why not'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Matisse Thybulle was asked the question, in one form or another, several times Thursday night and late Friday morning.

Can he help the Sixers immediately?

The first time he heard it, on a conference call from the draft in Brooklyn with reporters in Camden, he laughed. It seemed to be, from his perspective, a somewhat ludicrous question.

“Yeah,” he said. “I definitely plan on coming in and contributing. I don’t see why not. Defense translates, and for me defense is effort, and I can bring effort day in and day out. Three-point shooting is something that comes naturally to me and I think that will be a big asset with all the talented scorers we have, to surround them with shooters. I don’t think there will be a problem with me stepping in and contributing.”

General manager Elton Brand has the same expectations. He has a clear role in mind for Thybulle as a rookie.

“That was very important,” Brand said early Friday morning of Thybulle’s ability to make an impact right away. “As I’ve been saying all along, we have championship aspirations. A player that can come in right now, help us play defense — we know the wings we’re going to face in the East this year. To get the best defensive wing — he shot [35.8 percent in college] from three, and he can play. He can play. We needed him. We needed that type of toughness, we needed that type of culture. We need that piece that can step in right now.”

Brand is unconcerned with the fact that Thybulle played in a zone defense at Washington the past two seasons, and Thybulle isn’t worried either.

“For me, zone was cool because I got to chase the ball around a little bit,” Thybulle said. “I wasn't stuck on a man. You can be guarding someone and they're just sitting in a corner the whole game and you don't really get to impact the game defensively as much. … With that being said, I played man my whole life except for these past two years, so I'm used to it and know how to be effective in that."

Unlike some of the high-scoring, teenage players who were drafted Thursday night, Thybulle is familiar with not being the star. While he was by far Washington’s best player defensively, swiping an all-time Pac-12 record 331 steals and blocking 185 shots during his four-year career, he wasn’t the Huskies’ primary option on offense — that was sophomore Jaylen Nowell, the No. 43 pick in the draft. Thybulle averaged just 9.1 points per game as a senior on 7.5 field-goal attempts. He discussed making “certain sacrifices” for the benefit of the team.

"Knowing your role is a huge thing, in college and in the league,” he said. “I think that just preparing myself in college to know my role and be the best I can be at that role is going to set myself up well to be here."

The logistics of where Thybulle fits in the Sixers’ rotation should be more apparent once free agency concludes. With Thybulle and No. 54 pick Marial Shayok yet to sign deals, the team has only four players under contract for next season.

As Thybulle said to a scrum of reporters after his introductory press conference Friday, the latest installment in a hectic stretch for himself and the Sixers, “we’re going minute by minute at this point.”

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Sixers Talk podcast: More NBA teams close facilities; Mike Scott opens up

Sixers Talk podcast: More NBA teams close facilities; Mike Scott opens up

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss more NBA teams shutting down their facilities, Mike Scott not liking the league's jersey idea and much more — including Marc Zumoff's exclusive interview with Allen Iverson. 

(0:46) — Bucks, Kings shut practice facilities after receiving COVID-19 test results
(10:16) — Mike Scott calls NBA's jersey message plan a 'bad miss'
(17:06) — Allen Iverson interview with Marc Zumoff.

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Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

As the Sixers have made more players available leading up to the NBA’s attempt at a restart, we’ve gotten a little perspective on the idea of the “bubble” and playing games with no fans in Disney World.

Players have talked about the global pandemic and protests against racial inequality and police brutality continuing in the country. While there’s been a couple concerns raised, you can’t help but wonder if we’re getting the players’ true feelings on the entire situation.

If there’s one thing we’ve come to know about Mike Scott, it’s that you’ll never be left wondering what he was thinking after he speaks. In a video conference call with reporters Monday, Scott voiced serious concerns over returning to play.

Yeah,” Scott said when asked if it’s hard to get excited to play again. “Just trying to change your mentality from what’s going on and being with your family and making sure they’re safe and racism, coronavirus, and then turn and switch it on to go to Orlando and playing basketball. Easier said than done.

"Most people would [think] it should be pretty easy, just think about basketball, but I don’t know, man. It’s tough. Just thinking about it after what’s gone on the past couple months. I’ve been dealing with that and just trying to work out every day, get my mind ready for Orlando, but at the same time how can you not look and focus on everything else that’s going on? It’s definitely tough.

While always honest, Scott is generally one of the more positive players on the team. He’s always good for a quote that’ll get people talking and for his brutally honest assessments of how he played.

Monday’s media session was sobering. It was obvious in the 15 or so minutes that he spoke with reporters that he still has a lot of raw emotion in the wake of the death of George Floyd and similar incidents that have occurred around the country.

A lot of anger, disappointment,” Scott said. “Just questioning a lot of stuff like, ‘What’s going on in this world? How can people be so evil?’ Just a lot of anger, man. Mostly just anger. Using my platform … I’m more reserved, laid back, and I’m more of let’s just do it instead of just talking about it. Just go out there and just do it. … There was a lot of anger and [I'm] still angry.

Health and safety concerns are paramount to the NBA’s return, but so too is making sure that in a league made up of predominantly Black athletes, the voices of the players are heard. Several players expressed concern of an NBA return taking away from racial equality causes. 

The league will reportedly try to help players “call attention to racial equality, social justice and police brutality.” “Black Lives Matter” will reportedly be painted on all three courts in Disney World, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Zach Lowe.

Another step the league is reportedly taking is allowing players to have messages on the back of their jerseys instead of their last names. The phrases come from an approved list of 29 agreed upon by the NBA and NBPA, per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated.

Scott isn’t sure what the best way to keep spreading these messages is, but he’s not a fan of the jersey idea. He wishes the players could’ve had more input.

They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys,” Scott said. “That was terrible. It was a bad list, bad choice. They didn’t give players a chance to voice their opinion on it. They just gave us a list to pick from. That was bad. That’s terrible. Just voice your opinion, how you feel. 

“I don’t know how you can use your platform. I don’t know. Vote. Of course, vote. See what laws we can change. But I’m all about just doing, instead of just saying or posting or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know.

While Scott is glad to have his teammates to lean on, he still can’t help but be affected by what’s happening outside his own bubble.

“A lot of dialogue with teammates and coaches, especially with Tobias [Harris],” Scott said. “He’s been keeping us together and me and him have been talking every day about what’s going on in the world. It’s just a lot of frustration. Just a terrible time, a crazy time right now.”

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