Philadelphia 76ers: Is Matisse Thybulle ready for a starting role next season?

The 20th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Matisse Thybulle wasted little time earning himself a spot in the hearts of Philadelphia 76ers supporters everywhere. His fun-loving charisma, combined with his elite defense, has made him a fan-favorite pretty much wherever you look.

While Thybulle quickly emerged as an impressive talent during his rookie season, the 2020-21 campaign saw him properly breakout onto a more national level. He was named to the league’s All-Defensive Second Team – an extremely impressive feat considering he only averaged 20 minutes per game. Thybulle was simply so disruptive, and so impactful during his minutes off the bench that voters had no other choice but to give him All-Defensive Team honors.

While Thybulle has already established himself as one of the team’s better first-round picks in recent memory, he’s yet to solidify his role as a full-time starter. He’s made brief appearances in the starting five from time to time (22 to be exact), but has largely been reserved to a bench role. However, with a potential opening emerging at one of the Sixers’ wing positions, year three could be the year Thybulle sees himself officially inserted into Doc Rivers regular starting unit.

With Danny Green potentially on the way out this offseason, Matisse Thybulle could replace him in the Philadelphia 76ers starting five.

As Michael mentions in the above listed tweet, there’s a chance that Danny Green – who started 69 games for the Sixers this past season – doesn’t return to Philadelphia. Green is coming off a very productive year and could be seeking a fairly large payday in free agency, whereas Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers are strapped for cash. Any sort of deal that sees Green return to the city of brotherly love would almost definitely have to be less than the $15 million that he made this past season.

If Green does look to pursue greener pastures this offseason (pun intended), then Thybulle would be the pretty safe bet to replace him on the wing. Thybulle has a similar enough play style to that of Green – the classic “D and three” role.

While Thybulle is already a far better defender than the likes of 34 year old Danny Green, where he really lacks is in regards to his jumper. Green averaged 6.3 threes attempted per game while shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc this past season, whereas Thybulle shot just 30.1% on 2.2 three point attempts per game. A considerable difference.

Even with Ben Simmons likely on the way out this summer, continuing to surround Joel Embiid with as many shooters as humanly possible is the most logical plan of attack from a roster building perspective.

If the Green-to-Thybulle transition is going to work, Matisse is going to have to make noticeable improvements to his jumper. Not only is he going to need to become a more accurate shooter, but he also has to develop the confidence to shoot more frequently. Green was never afraid to shoot, even when contested, which made him a strong fit next to Embiid.

Unless Thybulle shows something drastic to Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey this offseason when it comes to his three-point shooting ability, I’m not so sure the Philadelphia 76ers are going to rush to crown him a starter. They could look to add a veteran sharpshooter via trade or free agency (similar to how they acquired Green), while keeping Thybulle on the bench as an elite defensive option.

Best case scenario would probably just be Green returning on a one-year deal of sorts.