As Team USA stinks, Matisse Thybulle and Team Australia shine
As all eyes and jokes are focused on Ben Simmons and his decisions regarding how he’s spending his off-season, a different Sixer is quietly putting the work in on the international stage. Matisse Thybulle, unlike his Sixer counterpart, did accept his invitation to play for the Australian national team this summer. While the games certainly aren’t NBA level, Matisse has shown some new parts to his game that should get Sixers fans excited for next season.
The All-NBA second team defensemen has quietly been improving his game, and just helped the Boomers take down the USA Men’s National team in an exhibition match last night. Matisse Thybulle displayed his unique defensive ability, a sight Sixers fans are very used to seeing, to the tune of three steals and two blocks in the contest. Matisse caused problems for some of the best players in the world all night. Thybulle even managed to block Kevin Durant that certainly made the former MVP think twice about coming Matisse’s way.
Those are the sort of plays many Philly fans are used to seeing these days. There is no denying Matisse Thybulle is a menace on the defensive side of the court. What really impressed me about his outing came on the other end of the court. While Matisse’s 12 points certainly don’t jump out of the box score, his shooting splits are where his true progression lies. Thybulle went a solid 71-percent from the field in the contest, knocking down two of his three attempts from beyond the arc. One of those threes was the first ever recorded incident of a Matisse Thybulle three-pointer off the dribble.
It certainly seems like Thybulle is determined to become much more aggresive offensively, and his few matches for Australia have certainly shown that. While Matisse Thybulle will always try and fit the “Three-and-D” mold, it was especially great to see him used in the pick and roll for the Boomers. For the life of me I can’t remember a time Thybulle ever came over to set a screen on a set play, as he was usually relegated to a corner of the hardwood on the offensive end. Now the Boomers coaching staff may have unlocked a new door for Matisse’s offensive game, one that I hope someone on the Sixers coaching staff saw.
I understand this is all from a friendly match against a team USA that wasn’t playing their best, but it is nice to see Matisse Thybulle showing signs of progression this off-season. We all know the how high the ceiling is for a play of Thybulle’s ability, and it all comes down to his offensive growth. This season saw too much of Matisse standing around, and it seems like Matisse himself agrees.
Matisse will always be there to cause havoc on the defensive end, but if he wants to become a star of a future 76ers team, he needs to find his groove on the other end of the court. A reliable three point jump shot is good, but I would love to see Thybulle continue to be aggressive on drives and active in the screen game like he’s shown so far for team Australia.
In a hectic and stressful 76er off-season where we don’t know how different the team will look next year, it is nice to see Matisse Thybulle putting in the work developing his game. As ironic as it is that I am talking about a Sixer developing his game well for the Australian National Team and his name isn’t Ben Simmons, I am glad there’s at least someone to talk about.
Mandatory Credit: Harrison Grimm, Drew Smith?