The Sixers fell in love with Matisse Thybulle and moved up to 20th overall to select the former Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year out of Washington in the 2019 draft. The flashes he’s shown defensively have helped make a shaky start to the season for the Sixers a lot more fun and palatable. Thybulle just kind of has a way of turning a routine play into a mad scramble and fast break going the other way. Opponent’s who skirt by him via screen must then frantically check their rearview mirrors for back-pressure like a driver being tailgated by a Mack truck:
I did NOT see Thybulle talk to Kemba after that block and I think I love him more because of it pic.twitter.com/SEAXpnFBXB— Sixers Saturdays (@SixersSaturdays) October 28, 2019
Matisse Thybulle: A Defensive Montage, for your viewing pleasure. pic.twitter.com/g9yDiepCsk— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 13, 2019
But for the well-rounded and likable player with an affinity for photography to remain a key cog in Coach Brett Brown’s rotation, he’s going to need to hold his own offensively. It always comes down to the jumpshot for this type of 3-n-D player.
So far this season Thybulle is shooting just 29.2 percent on his triples and 58.3 percent from the stripe. Of course he’s only taken 24 threes and 12 free throws. We are dealing with some very small samples.
According to Tankathon’s metrics Thybulle was projected to shoot around 36 percent from downtown after shooting 30.5 percent from 3 at Washington and 85.1 percent from the line. (It’s occasionally noted by draft experts that college free throw percentage can be more predictive of three-point shooting success in the NBA than college three point percentage, almost like the free throw line is a defense free science laboratory).
But with so little information to go by, it’s worth digging into the tape and seeing how his shot looks and what if any enhancements can be made while he’s still young, willing and able to make changes to muscle memory.
The grind of the regular season isn’t the ideal time to change ones shot. But this stuff can certainly be picked up come summer 2020. For now, the good news is that his shot does appear much cleaner when he’s wide open.
He’s 2 of 7 on three point attempts when he has less than 6 feet of room from downtown per NBA.com. He’s 5 of 17 on looks when he has 6 feet or more. My hunch is that his percentage on wide open looks will go up a bit, as will his free throw percentage. I value his touch and willingness to fire.
The shots he takes off-movement or with less room could continue to see shaky results until he addresses a few of the issues with his shot mechanics the video below points out. But maybe Coach Brown can simply ask him to be more discriminating with his looks in order to remain in the rotation today and through the playoffs.
The closer a defender is or the more momentum and physical factors one has to account for (like sprinting then stopping or careening off screen) the harder it can be to shoot the exact same way each time. Especially for someone who may not do so even when they’re wide open or shooting free throws.
I’m hoping Thybulle remains a big part of the Sixers rotation and I think he can achieve that. His jumper will be the key.
Here’s a quick video with my thoughts. Leave yours in the replies or find me on twitter: