To call Philadelphia 76ers winger Matisse Thybulle a polarizing player is an understatement.
To some, he’s a talented, game-changing perimeter defender who’s recorded at least 100 steals and 70 blocks in each of the past two seasons — a mark no other NBA player can boast.
And to others? Well, he’s a quirk who cares more about his vlogs than learning to film with any kind of repeatable touch, and they’d happily ship him to Chicago even if the return was a redundant combo guard like Coby White.
While neither side is completely right or completely wrong, the former received another feather they can place in their cap on Friday, as Redbull’s favorite player just clinched a spot on the The NBA’s Second All-Defensive Team for the second consecutive season. Consider that, my friends, as a vindication of your beliefs or some other accolade to convince a team like the Phoenix Suns that they would win a Matisse Thybulle-Cameron Johnson trade.
Matisse Thybulle remains the Philadelphia 76ers’ most unique player.
Since the NBA began naming players to All-Defensive teams in 1969, only 13 players: Bobby Jones, Caldwell Jones, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks, Rick Mahorn, Theo Ratliff, Dikembe Mutombo, Eric Snow, Andre Igoudala, Robert Covington, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle earned the honors.
Surprising? A little; the Sixers only had two All-Defensive players between 1991-2001, Ratliff and Mutombo, and only one, Snow, between 2004-17 but hey, with players named to the team in four of the past five seasons, at least people are looking to Philly for defense once again.
Want to know what’s even more surprising? Only seven of those players: B. Jones, C. Jones, Cheeks, Mutombo, Embiid, Simmons, and now Thybulle can claim to have been on the team more than once.
Impressive stuff indeed.
While Thybulle is the only Sixers member to make an All-Defensive team this season, as Embiid and Simmons were notably absent from the roster for very different reasons, his consideration for the honor was well-deserved, as his season was very good. In effect.
Of the 605 players to record at least one minute of NBA action during the 2021-22 NBA season, how many do you think recorded at least 100 interceptions and 70 blocks? Yeah, that would be a list of one, the only player I know of with the first name Matisse in NBA history. This marks the second season in a row where Thybulle has achieved this honor and, obviously, makes Thybulle the only player to have accomplished the feat during this period.
To find another guard who has logged at least 110 steals and 70 blocks, you have to go all the way back to 2014-15, when Danny Green did so as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
Was Thybulle a perfect defender in 2021-22? No, his personal fouls went from 127 to 158, largely due to his pension for biting on counterfeit pumps, and his willingness to let drivers pass him in order to attempt a deflection shot from the trailing position was not as successful in its third season. than his second, but even so, there’s a reason Thybulle placed third on the team in both On-Court +/- Per 100 Poss. and in On-Off +/- By 100 Poss. for a reason: Thybulle was an impact player for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2021-22.
Will Matisse Thybulle become the modern equivalent of Bobby Jones for the Philadelphia 76ers? Will he become a fixture on All-NBA rosters for the rest of his career and will he one day see his jersey hanging from the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center (or elsewhere)? Maybe so…or maybe he’ll wear another jersey this fall, and the Sixers will have replaced his and Danny Green’s serves with a proper 3-and-D small forward. Either way, it’s clear that the wider NBA community appreciates Thybulle’s efforts, at least on the defensive side of the court, far more than some fans do after a less-than-ideal playoff run. .