The Philadelphia 76ers have selected Matisse Thybulle with the 20th pick of the 2019 NBA draft. Philadelphia acquired this selection from the Boston Celtics for the 24th and 33rd picks in Thursday's event.
Unique defensive stats may have forced scouts to look closer at Thybulle, who had been playing at Washington since 2015. He never averaged more than 11.2 points per game, and his scoring rate dropped even lower this past season. However, his defensive reputation continued to grow. He'll now look to keep it alive as he makes the jump to the NBA.
Weight: 195 pounds
Pro comparison: Raja Bell
A limited scorer, Thybulle has shown enough as a shot-maker to fuel three-and-D potential. Despite an off year shooting, he hit 191 threes at an acceptable 35.8 percent clip across 135 career games. He's become more efficient inside the arc, where he usually takes only quality looks. As a senior, he shot 55.5 percent on twos and 63.6 percent at the rim. He can be a threat attacking closeouts and slashing, having made 14-of-24 takes to the basket out of spot-up position.
There will be heavy pressure on Thybulle's shooting (30.5 percent from three this year) since he isn't a shot-creator or playmaker. Only a combined 9.4 percent of his offense was generated out of isolation and pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions combined. He averaged only 2.1 assists, too. He lacks guard skills, and at 6'5", he doesn't have great size for a wing who isn't a scorer or distributor.
Though he may have been aided by Washington's zone, Thybulle finished his senior year as one of only two players since 1992 to average at least three steals and two blocks in a season. No player in the class is better at anticipating and making a play. Thybulle has terrific defensive instincts, and he should have enough size to guard both wing spots. He still isn't a proven one-on-one defender, but between his tools, special IQ and historic numbers, Thybulle is a good bet to add defensive value at the NBA level.
Thybulle is bound to earn minutes at some point throughout his rookie season. The coaching staff will be eager to see how well he defends against NBA scorers. However, he isn't likely to play long stretches given his offensive limitations. He won't have a long leash if he isn't making open shots. Thybulle could be a strong G League candidate to continue improving his jump shot and confidence.
Projected role: Defensive specialist
Thybulle will likely top out as a role player, but he could be valuable like Raja Bell was as a veteran. Optimizing Thybulle means surrounding him with scorers and playmakers so he can receive open catch-and-shoot looks and play to his strengths as a spot-up threat and defensive ace. He may never average double figures in any NBA season, so sticking with the right team that needs a particular player like him will be key for his role and future.