Philadelphia 76ers: Matisse Thybulle shined defending Steph Curry

Matisse Thybulle is objectively one of the better players in the NBA.

There isn’t a team in the association that wouldn’t benefit from having him on their roster, and if he were allowed to test the open market – which, hopefully, the Philadelphia 76ers won’t let happen – the pride of Washington would surely generate a bidding war of dozens of okay-to-great teams looking to sure up their defense with one of the better young perimeter players around.

Thybulle has been so good that we really don’t have a good way to quantify it, as the process of stat-ifying defense in basketball has proven incredibly difficult (read more on that from The Ringers’ Zach Kram here). How can a player who only averaged 6.4 points, 1.2 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game be a legitimate game-changer and potentially worthy of a $100 million extension?

Well, if you watched the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Golden State Warriors, you’ll surely come away with that impression, as Matisse Thybulle put the clamps on Seth Curry‘s brother in a way that few other defenders can.

The Philadelphia 76ers should love Matisse Thybulle’s Year 3 development.

Matisse Thybulle covered Steph Curry for 39.1 possessions in the Philadelphia 76ers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors, according to our friends over at The Painted Line.

On those possessions, Curry went 1-6 from beyond the arc, 3-9 from the field in general, and only scored seven of his 25 points, which, obviously, is pretty darn good, especially when you consider Thybulle just came back from a stint on the COVID list that robbed him of seven-game in the month of November. Thybulle kept with Curry when appropriate, allowed him to pass by in search for his signature behind the back block, and even picked off a pass from the two-time MVP that led to a quick two points by Georges Niang.

Things got so pesky that Steve Kerr sent screen after screen after screen in an attempt to get Curry free from Thybulle clutches, which proved valuable in the middle quarters, when Seth’s brother did most of his damage.

Still, the Sixers didn’t lose to the Warriors because of Curry, who only scored five points from the field and seven points in general in the fourth quarter while largely shadowed by Thybulle. No, the Sixers lost because Andre Drummond struggled mightily, Juan Toscano-Anderson turned into Vince Carter – shout out to Yamil Roman for the player comp – and, most crucially of all, the team was outscored by 18 points in the final frame of the contest.

That’s… concerning, but hey, Thybulle played well, am I right? That’s certainly something. Seven points, five rebounds, three steals, and two blocks in 33 minutes ain’t nothing to sneeze at, even if his three turnovers aren’t ideal.

When Ben Simmons was an active member of the Philadelphia 76ers roster, Matisse Thybulle was a luxury. He could be subbed in alongside the 6-foot-10 point guard to run a lethal 2-3 zone or simply serve as a cog in the switching game alongside Danny Green, but because neither player was particularly effective at spacing the field, the duo were often staggered to keep one good defender on the court at all times. But now, in Simmons’ absence, Thybulle is one of the most important players on the Sixers’ roster and a very welcomed return to Doc Rivers’ rotation after 16 days away. Welcome back, Mr. Thybulle; good to see you’re right back to your old business.