When Philadelphia 76ers fans think of their team’s defensive dominance, they probably picture the likes of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Danny Green, among a host of others. Simmons thinks that second-year guard Matisse Thybulle deserves not only to be right up there with, or even above the group, but to be considered one of NBA’s top defenders for this season.
— Ky Carlin (@Ky_Carlin) May 4, 2021
Despite averaging only 20 minutes per game across 62 contests including seven starts, Thybulle has made his presence known when on the court. During a first quarter possession in Monday night’s victory over the Chicago Bulls, the 24-year-old showed off his defensive prowess by fighting past a double-screen to race and block Lauri Markkanen, only then to hustle back and pick off a Markkanen pass intended for Garrett Temple.
A block AND a steal. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/IqQXg5Pn2g
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 4, 2021
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With his role off of the bench resulting in fewer – but no less important – minutes, not many recognize Thybulle as an elite defender, but the numbers back up Simmons’ opinion. Thybulle has posted a defensive field goal percentage of 37.6, which has him ranking first in the entire Association.
Embiid, Simmons, Thybulle All in Top 10 for Defensive Player Ladder
Simmons has been a constant figure on NBA.com senior writer Steve Aschburner’s weekly Defensive Player Ladder and is in the top spot for the second week in a row. Embiid meanwhile, has been on and off of the list – primarily due to his various injuries – but finds himself in “The Next Five” this week, so still within the top 10.
After showing up in the top 10 on numerous occasions this season, Thybulle has finally cracked the top five – at number five – this week. In addition to his rank atop the defensive field goal percentage leaderboard, “Mathief” is also allowing only 0.86 points per possession and a 42.5 effective field goal percentage.
Thybulle also averages an impressive 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Put at a 36 minutes per game clip, those numbers increase to 2.8 and 1.9 respectively.
Simmons and Aschburner aren’t the only ones who have praised Thybulle’s defense recently, as Green was recently quoted as calling the youngster “a better me.”
Seth Curry Becomes 4th Sixers Player Ever to Go 6-for-6 on 3-Pointers
One of the biggest storylines across the NBA in April was the insane play of Golden State Warriors stud Stephen Curry. His little brother – Sixers guard Seth Curry – is trying to shift the focus to his shooting stroke in Philly and with a historic performance earlier this week, he’s off to a good start.
During Sunday’s win against the San Antonio Spurs, Curry accomplished something that only three other players in the history of the Sixers franchise had done.
h/t @Stathead https://t.co/471HJesIOL
— Sixers Stats (@SixersStats) May 3, 2021
On Tuesday afternoon, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic Philadelphia expanded further on Curry’s hot streak.
Seth Curry’s last seven games: 36 of 62 from the field and 22 of 35 from 3-point range.
He talked about how important getting his legs and cardio right is for his game (last week’s blowouts seemed to help) and why that has been hard for him this year: https://t.co/y7v38SRM8I pic.twitter.com/nCmmPxfMnq
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) May 4, 2021
If Curry can continue to produce at even half of the rate that he has been lately, that’s yet another scoring option for a dangerous Sixers group looking to win their first title since 1983.
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