Matisse Thybulle needed a big night. Going into training camp this offseason, there has been a lot of talk about Thybulle’s offensive value.
As the standout defender has struggled to improve his shooting over his first three NBA seasons, Thybulle has seen his minutes dissipate as he’s become more of a defensive specialist rather than a two-way contributor.
Throughout the offseason, Thybulle worked to improve his offense. The young wing has reportedly been participating in workouts with Bulls star DeMar DeRozan and Blazers star Damian Lillard. When he joined his 76ers teammates for training camp in Charleston, veterans like Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid recognized Thybulle’s improved value on offense.
When it came time for Thybulle to showcase his development to the crowd in the Sixers’ first preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets, he stood a little short. In 18 minutes, Thybulle took four shots, draining just one three-point attempt.
In his second outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thybulle posted similar stats as he missed all but one of his four shots and scored four points in 14 minutes.
The All-Defensive prospect didn’t live up to the hype behind the scenes, but his coach encouraged the young guard to keep shooting.
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“It’s a work in progress,” Doc Rivers said over the weekend. “All we can ask is that he puts in the time and I think he’s worked as hard as anybody. He took a lot of time with his shot.”
Confidence is vital when it comes to shooting. Understanding that even some of the best shooters in the NBA sometimes go through slumps is the mindset a player like Thybulle needs so he doesn’t hesitate to shoot the ball when shots aren’t falling.
“Learning to be that way and learning to ignore the misses and know that you’re putting in the work and keep shooting,” Rivers continued. “The problem is you miss a couple and then you start questioning, you stop shooting. So far, he hasn’t done that, and that’s what we want him to do.”
The Sixers visited the Cavaliers for a rematch on Monday night. Thybulle came off the bench for almost 11 minutes, his lowest total playing time so far. When Thybulle had a chance to hit a 3-pointer on one of his first attempts, he made the shot.
Another three-point attempt ended later. It was a poor performance for the former champion, but he didn’t stop trying. Four shots later, Thybulle finished the night going 3-6 from the field. With five of those shots coming from long range, Thybulle finished the game knocking down 60 percent of his threes for nine points.
Patience and confidence paid off for Thybulle during the Sixers’ third trip to Cleveland. Now, he must add another factor by becoming consistent. Thybulle will have another chance to build on Monday’s performance when the 76ers take the floor Wednesday night to face the Charlotte Hornets in their preseason finale.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.