Let’s be honest, we all somewhat expected this to happen.
Former Sixer Matisse Thybulle, traded last week in a four-team trade to acquire Charlotte Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, came out hot in his debut for the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. Thybulle sank four triples to score 14 points with six rebounds in his first start as a Blazer. He didn’t slack on his defensive prowess either, with three blocks to help the Blazers to a 127-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Matisse Thybulle with the EMPHATIC REJECTION ❌ pic.twitter.com/TN8WRBXkJh— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 14, 2023
Thybulle has been involved in different trade talks throughout his time in Philadelphia. Finally, he has resettled on a new team, in a starting role, and he sure looked ready for the opportunity.
“It felt really good. First thing was I felt comfortable, and I didn’t realize how much you can take that for granted. So just to be out there and feel comfortable and to feel and know that I’m wanted and needed, the coaching staff and players have my back, I think it showed in my ability to play and be more of myself,” Thybulle told reporters after Tuesday’s contest.
Thybulle was averaging just 12.1 minutes per game with the Sixers this season, compared to 25.5 last season. Tuesday night, he played 26 minutes for Portland, and felt an instant level of grounding that he was struggling to find as just a defensive player in Philadelphia, he said postgame.
“The freedom I have here to shoot open shots, make plays, be a part of the offensive I think frees me up mentally and allows me to kind of me to tap into the confidence that is there based off of the work I’ve been able to put in over the last few years, whereas in my roles in the past there wasn’t the opportunities or involvement in the offense, so it would make it hard to kind of feel grounded or comfortable, so second guessing and doubting myself would creep in,” Thybulle said. “Here, I mean, it’s early, but to have one practice and one game under my belt and already feel comfortable I think says a lot.”
He certainly looked comfortable. In his debut, Thybulle’s 4-of-6 three-point shooting was the first time he had made more than three triples in game since his career high of five triples in December of his rookie year, 2019-20.
Of course, it’s a small sample size so far, but it does coincide with a pattern the Sixers have of getting rid of players that go on to shine for their new teams. Isaiah Joe comes to mind immediately, who is now leading the NBA in three-point percentage for the Oklahoma City Thunder after being waived by Philadelphia a few months back.
With all that being said, McDaniels is also doing well so far for the Sixers. In his second game in Philadelphia, McDaniels played nearly 28 minutes with eight points, six rebounds and three assists, and is already showing a growing connection with Tyrese Maxey for the bench unit.
Basically, it’s too early to tell who “won” the trade. One good regular season shooting game for Thybulle doesn’t erase the struggles he showed in the playoffs for the Sixers in the past, and neither player can truly be assessed in their new homes until they get more games under their belt.
Time will tell.
Watch Thybulle’s full postgame interview to reporters below: