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The Sixers Have A Matisse Thybulle Dilemma In The 2022 NBA Offseason


PHILADELPHIA , PA- APRIL 25 – Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle (22) tries to separate Toronto … [+] Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) and Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) because the Toronto Raptors beat the Philadelphia 76ers 103-88 in Game 5 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia . April 25, 2022. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Toronto Star via Getty Images

The 2022 NBA playoffs were Matisse Thybulle’s last probability to prove his value to the Philadelphia 76ers before he became eligible to sign an extension.

He did, well, the other of that.

Thybulle wasn’t allowed to play on the road against the Toronto Raptors within the Sixers’ opening-round series because he hadn’t gotten fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Each time he did play, his lack of a threatening jump shot overshadowed his defensive impact, as each the Raptors and Miami Heat largely ignored him to send help elsewhere.

“The players who’re sort of utmost one-way-type players, it’s difficult within the playoffs,” team president Daryl Morey told reporters about Thybulle at his end-of-season press conference. “It’s difficult for the coaches; it’s difficult for the players. I feel for Matisse, his mission, which he knows, is how can he improve in ways in which makes him someone that could make more of an impact within the playoffs. I feel he’ll in the long run.”

With Danny Green more likely to miss most or all of next season with a torn ACL and LCL, the Sixers need a fifth starter whom they will count on within the playoffs, whether it’s Thybulle or another person. They’ll need to choose whether or not they imagine Thybulle will improve enough as a shooter this offseason to justify a long-term investment in him or in the event that they need to handle that position either via trade or free agency.

Thybulle began in a career-high 50 of his 66 regular-season appearances this yr, although he averaged only 5.7 points in 25.5 minutes and shot 31.3 percent from three-point range on low volume (2.2 attempts per game). He wound up playing only 15.2 minutes per game within the playoffs and scored a complete of 27 points across nine games while shooting 4-of-14 from deep.

The Washington product showed flashes of the defensive disruption that earned him a second-team All-Defensive nod last season, but he was inconsistent on that end of the ground. He picked up 15 personal fouls in just 137 minutes, because the Raptors and Heat used his aggressiveness against him and repeatedly got him to bite on pump fakes.

Even when Thybulle was a shutdown wing stopper, his negative impact on offense might offset what he provides on defense. Since he’s a profession 32.4 percent three-point shooter, teams don’t have any issue with leaving him wide open to send a second defender at Joel Embiid and James Harden. They dare him to shoot and trust the odds will even out over time.

In his end-of-season press conference, head coach Doc Rivers said Thybulle’s offensive limitations made it difficult to play him throughout the playoffs. Nevertheless, he expressed confidence that the 25-year-old will make strides on his shooting consistency this summer.

“He’s working on it,” Rivers said. “I can inform you that. It’s difficult. One-way players are higher within the regular season than the playoffs. I feel everyone knows that, but Matisse is putting within the time. We hired the suitable resources, so far as staffing, shooting coaches and everybody, and more importantly, the suitable resource with Matisse is his work ethic. He’s putting within the work.

“It’s gradual. It’s called being patient and we’re. I feel it makes us more patient, because he works at it. We can be less patient if we didn’t think he was working at it. And the proven fact that he’s working at it, there have been improvements. He became a greater cutter this yr. He ran the ground higher this yr. And the subsequent step is to enhance his shot, which we’re working on day-after-day. And that’s going to be his marching orders this summer.”

Thybulle did show more flashes as a cutter this season, particularly after the Sixers acquired Harden on the trade deadline. Harden assisted on 27 of Thybulle’s 52 made field goals after the All-Star break, including 21 of his 37 contained in the three-point arc. The 2 even showed some budding chemistry as pick-and-roll partners at times throughout the regular season.

“The way in which teams play James is pretty unique, and the way they need to blitz him or force him right or whatever,” Thybulle told reporters in early March. “They throw quite a lot of things at him, and my goal essentially is to force a switch or get his guy off of him. And by doing a brief roll, it allows to create space, and thru that, he type of does what he does.”

If the Sixers manage to retain Harden this summer, Thybulle can go into next season knowing that he’ll have an elite playmaker able to set him up for wide-open shots. He had a defender inside six feet of him on only three of his 39 three-point attempts after Harden’s debut, and he shot 38.9 percent on those looks. He’ll also have to develop his playmaking as a brief roller if the Sixers hope to run more Harden-Thybulle pick-and-rolls next season.

“He’s a really capable shooter,” Green said about Thybulle on his Contained in the Green Room podcast after the season. … “It’s more so just the arrogance. But I’m sure he’ll be working on it a ton this summer and take an enormous stride in that area. But I see him being an enormous defensive factor as all the time, after which coming along and progressing within the offensive factor, making himself more of a two-way player.”

Given his struggles within the playoffs, it’s hard to assume the Sixers offering Thybulle a lucrative extension this offseason. Unless he’s willing to conform to a team-friendly deal, they’ll likely be effective with him playing out the ultimate yr of his rookie-scale contract next season and becoming a restricted free agent in July 2023. At that time, they might match any offer sheet he signs with one other team, barring drastic changes to the league’s collective bargaining agreement between at times. (The league and/or the players association can—and certain will—opt out of the CBA by December, which can cause it to run out after the 2022-23 season.)

If the Sixers do not believe Thybulle will develop enough offensively to turn into playable within the playoffs, they may additionally explore trades with him this summer. The Chicago Bulls are “one team with known interest” in him, in response to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.

“Bulls GM Marc Eversley has had a keenness for Thybulle going back to early in his collegiate profession at Washington, and was instrumental in pushing the Sixers to amass him within the 2019 draft,” Deveney reported Thursday.

Thybulle’s meager salary can be a complicating consider any trade, though. He earned only $2.8 million this past season and is about to earn $4.4 million next yr.

Teams are limited in how much salary they will take back in a trade based on how much they send out and whether or not they’re above or below the luxury-tax line. For the reason that Sixers are above the tax threshold this season, they will take back not more than 125 percent of the salary they send out between now and June 30, plus $100,000.

If the Sixers dip below the tax line next yr, they might take back 175 percent of the outgoing salary plus $100,000 in the event that they send out lower than $6.5 million or the outgoing salary plus $5 million in the event that they send between $6.5 million and $19.6 million. They might take back not more than $7.8 million in the event that they traded Thybulle on his own, which won’t be enough to amass an impact player.

The Sixers could guarantee Green’s $10 million salary for next season and package him as salary ballast with Thybulle to extend how much money they’re in a position to take back. They might also pair him with Furkan Korkmaz ($5 million next season) or one among their younger players, although Green is the one mid-sized contract at their disposal.

The opposite option can be to make use of Thybulle as a sweetener to get off the 2 years and $76.8 million remaining on Tobias Harris’ contract, particularly in the event that they’re truly hoping to go attempting to find one other star this offseason. Doing so could leave them woefully thin on the wing/forward spots, but they could have the opportunity to shore up those areas with the $10.3 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception or $4.1 million bi-annual exception if Harden opts out and re-signs for lower than his $46.5 million maximum salary.

Thybulle won’t be the most important domino for the Sixers this offseason—Harden gets that distinction until further notice—but what they resolve to do with him could influence the remaining of their roster’s direction.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats via NBA.com, PBPStats, Cleansing the Glass or Basketball Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

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