76ers

Sixers vets aren't thrilled with Matisse Thybulle's food order

Sixers vets aren't thrilled with Matisse Thybulle's food order

When you’ve won two games in a row — including a win without your best player over a rival — everything is better.

You sleep better. The air seems fresher. Food tastes better … as long as the rookie doesn’t screw up the team's order.

Unfortunately, for the Sixers’ Matisse Thybulle, that was the case. His veteran teammates weren’t too thrilled about the biscuit-to-player ratio on their way to Dallas for a game against the Mavericks Saturday.

This is from Tobias Harris’ Instagram story, but Kyle O’Quinn definitely steals the show by offering people a bite of his biscuit. 

Thybulle is Harris’ rookie and the veteran forward has taken the 22-year-old under his wing. It was Harris who kept the rookie mentally sharp while he missed seven games with a knee injury.

The pair sit next to each other on the team plane and share a mutual respect.

Aside from being an amazing example, he’s just been like a big brother,” Thybulle said in early December. “We sit next to each other on every flight and he’s constantly giving me advice. I seek him for all my questions — whether it’s financially, on the court, off the court, I go to him. He’s done it at a very high level for a while now, and I really look up to him in that sense. He’s been able to be a huge role model for me.

It's nothing but love and respect, but Thybulle is still a rookie — and Harris reminds him of that.

And this isn’t the first time Harris has exposed Thybulle’s hijinks.

After a miserable couple weeks, the Sixers appear to be having fun again.

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ESPN's Pablo Torre rants about Al Horford and Elton Brand, and gets everything right

ESPN's Pablo Torre rants about Al Horford and Elton Brand, and gets everything right

Being a Sixers fan this year has felt, largely, like being in a doomed relationship. While the rest of the league is talking about young stars like Luka and Zion, and well-constructed mega-teams like the Lakers and Clippers, the Sixers are spinning their wheels with a misshapen team.

On Thursday, those exact sentiments - the "why must the Sixers be this way?!" angst - were given a mainstream voice when ESPN's Pablo Torre, who counts himself as a Sixers fan, chatted about the state of the team.

Torre appeared on Thurday's episode of Tom Haberstroh's "Habershow" podcast to talk all things NBA, and they eventually made their way to Philadelphia's basketball team, likely headed towards another early postseason exit.

Torre started his dissection of the Sixers' struggles around the 35:20 mark, got on a roll, and didn't look back:

I just hate watching Al Horford play basketball. I just hate it. It's infuriating. And Tom, it's August 12, right? We've had four extra months to really contemplate how useless Al Horford is to the Sixers' ambitions. More than we would even get in a normal season. And we're still talking about Al Horford. 

And part of it is because Brett Brown and the Sixers took forever to admit that he should not be playing with Joel, and the other part now, which is inevitable, is this injury to Ben. It's just groundhog day. It's endless. I don't hate anyone in the NBA, but I hate watching Al Horford play basketball.

[...]

And I want to be fair to Al Horford here. I don't hate how Al Horford plays more than I hate how Elton Brand has general managed. And when I say Elton Brand, I mean Elton Brand plus, in parentheses, the leftover Bryan Colangelo brain trust. What they have done to build this team? That's really the root of all my most fiery and acid reflux-like reactions. Why don't they have guards?

Yep, that about sums it up.

The 2019-20 season has been so frustrating for Sixers fans because the complications are two-fold.

There's the underwhelming performance from guys like Horford and Josh Richardson, who were brought in (and paid exorbitantly) to put the Sixers over the top but instead have played very average basketball. That's concerning because Horford, unless he's traded, is here for three more years and isn't getting younger - or, likely, better.

And then there's the performance of Elton Brand, the man ostensibly in charge of adding the underwhelming players. He failed to adequately address the team's need for perimeter shooting this past offseason, which doomed them to middling returns this year.

The team needs to solve its on-court product by finding better-fitting players to put alongside Simmons and Embiid. It also needs to evaluate its decision makers before looking for those better-fitting players.

Barring an unforeseeable miracle run - and, frankly, even if one happens - Sixers fans like Torre need to see some significant changes this offseason. Because this year has incurred enough "acid reflux-like reactions" to last a lifetime.

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NBA rumors: Insider has a couple of trade targets in mind for Sixers

NBA rumors: Insider has a couple of trade targets in mind for Sixers

The Sixers’ substantial commitments to Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons limit their options moving forward.

However, NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh does have a couple of trade targets in mind for the team this offseason.

He thinks Nets wing Joe Harris, the NBA’s leader in three-point percentage last season, should be a player of interest. 

Harris will be an unrestricted free agent and the Nets will have his Bird Rights, which means they’ll be able to go over the salary cap to re-sign him.

The Nets could orchestrate a complicated Joe Harris sign-and-trade to get him to Philly but it would likely require Philly giving up an asset like Matisse Thybulle in the deal,” Haberstroh writes. “It’s hard to see the pathway to get a Harris-(Tobias) Harris swap (Tobias makes $34.3 million next season), but the Sixers should at the very least kick the tires on what it’d take to acquire the best free agent shooter on the 2020 market. 

For as elite a shooter as Joe Harris is, that does not sound like a good deal from the Sixers’ perspective — at all. Tobias Harris, in the first year of a five-year, $180 million contract, has averaged 19.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He’s not an All-Star, but he’s a well above-average player who also helps bind the team together with his leadership. Thybulle is a talented young defender potentially under team control through the 2022-2023 season. The Sixers could use more shooting but this particular idea, in our view, is not the right way to acquire it.

The other name Haberstroh raises is veteran Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica.

If Bjelica hadn’t made a last-minute reversal in 2018 free agency, he'd be on the Sixers right now,” he writes. “Bjelica is due $7.2 million next season and the Kings have an interesting offseason ahead with Bogdan Bogdanovic being a restricted free agent. Trading for Philly’s (Josh) Richardson could be a fallback option if Bogie’s pricetag gets too high for Sacramento’s liking.

Engaging with the Kings would certainly make sense. Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield are two other players it would be logical to consider.

Richardson is under contract for 2020-21 and then has an $11.6 million player option the following season. While he hasn’t fit as well as the Sixers hoped in his first season here, his perimeter defense remains valuable. One imagines the Sixers could get a better return for him than a 32-year-old stretch four. 

You can read Haberstroh’s full piece on the Sixers, including some of the major questions facing the team heading into the playoffs, here

And, if you’re interested in more national discussion on the Sixers, Haberstroh and ESPN’s Pablo Torre discussed the team on the latest episode of The Habershow podcast. Torre still believes in the potential of the Simmons-Embiid duo and finds watching Horford play on the Sixers “infuriating.”

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