Philadelphia 76ers: Matisse Thybulle just put up an unbelievable stat line

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Matisse Thybulle is severely underplayed.

Despite only playing an average of 20.0 minutes of action a night, Thybulle led the NBA in steals per minute at 1.6 and became the first guard to record over 70 blocks in a season since Danny Green accomplished the feat all the way back in 2017-18. He’s arguably the Philadelphia 76ers‘ best pure backcourt defender, a unique matchup piece capable of making opposing scorers’ lives miserable, and at 24-years-old, he’s only going to keep getting better at it.

So naturally, when Thybulle just, I don’t know, records four steals and five blocks in 20 minutes of action in only his sixth playoff game, the first player in NBA playoff history to accomplish that feat according to Crazy Stats, it’s basically just another day at the office, right? Predictable? Expected? Nothing to write home about?

Come on; this has effectively transformed into a Matisse Thybulle appreciation blog at this point; you know we have to break down number 22’s signature game.

Ben Simmons wasn’t the only Philadelphia 76ers player showing out in Game 2.

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It took Matisse Thybulle a little over seven minutes to check into the Philadelphia 76ers’ Game 2 contest against the Washington Wizards. He was the first reserve inserted into the game – a change of pace from Game 1, where Dwight Howard came off the bench a little earlier than expected at the 6:28 mark due to Joel Embiid‘s foul trouble – and split his playing time fairly evenly between the first and second halves.

Needless to say, Thybulle’s efforts were golden.

Splitting his time between a modified starting lineup in place of Tobias Harris and alongside Philadelphia’s most improved players – plus Howard, George Hill, and, eventually, a supercharged Tyrese Maxey – Thybulle filled the role of defensive stopper admirably, holding Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook to four points from the field combined on nine combined shots.

That, my friends, is pretty gosh darn good.

Would you like to know what else is good? The fact that 20 percent of his blocks and 25 percent of his steals came against Washington’s best offensive player, signifying that Thybulle didn’t exclusively mine for stats against the not-so-dynamic duo of Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans, who recorded a combined RPM of -17 in 50 total minutes of action.

Fun fact: Did you know Davis Bertans finished out Game 2 with zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists, and six personal fouls in 24 minutes of action for the Washington Wizards? That has to be some sort of record.

Thybulle is smart. He plays with a sense of anticipation the likes of which only the very best defenders in the NBA can muster – let alone 24-year-olds on their third scheme in as many years – and consistently brings a playmaking pop at the best possible time in a way few others can boast.

While one could quibble with Thybulle’s specific usage, as he’s been largely used in his regular season role of playing from roughly four minutes left in the first/third quarter until approximately six minutes left in the second/fourth, that has more to do with Rivers’ lineup rigidity, and the team’s in-game plight than anything “Matheif” brings to the table, as the Sixers haven’t exactly been forced into any offense-for-defense sort of situations late in games.

If anything, one could make a pretty compelling argument that the Sixers are underplaying Thybulle based on his impact on the game, as he really should be on the court for 24 minutes regardless of his redundancy with Simmons and overall offensive meh-ness.

To paraphrase the great Zack Lowe, having Thybulle on the court is like having 5.5 defenders, so even if he tops out at a half dozen offensive points per game, his value-added is more significant than any other players who populate the Sixers’ bench at tip-off.

Doc Rivers: You have one of the most unique defensive weapons in the NBA; use him like one.

Next. Apparently Ben Simmons took that personally. dark

In a perfect world, Matisse Thybulle would be on the court for more than half of any given Philadelphia 76ers playoff game. He can play either wing position, cover opposing players one-four, and has even shown a little stroke from beyond the arc, as he nailed a 3 pointer in the first half of Game 2 without showing an ounce of hesitation. Granted, he’s bricked his other four attempts from 3, but hey, whatcha gonna do? Thybulle doesn’t get paid to shoot, he gets paid to be a shooter’s worst nightmare, and thus far, he’s done just that every time he’s taken the court against the Wizards. If that trend continues against the Hawks/Knicks, we could be in store for something special and more unicorn stat lines.