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Matisse Thybulle, 76ers Agree to Rookie Contract Ahead of 2019 NBA Summer League

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2019

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver poses for photographs with Washington's Matisse Thybulle after the Boston Celtics selected him as the 20th pick overall in the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Matisse Thybulle is officially a part of the Philadelphia 76ers after the first-round pick signed with the team Wednesday.

"Matisse was the best defensive wing in the draft, and his tenacious and gritty play fit our culture perfectly," general manager Elton Brand said. "A talented shooter and a great person off the court, we're very excited to welcome Matisse to the 76ers family."

Thybulle was the No. 20 overall selection in the 2019 NBA draft to the Boston Celtics before immediately being flipped to the 76ers.

As Brand explained, it was the guard's defense that turned heads for the front office.

"His wingspan, his feet, he moves well, certain intangibles, hand speed, he did play zone mostly in college, but we can see where he was in the front of the zone, how he defended a lot one-on-one in those situations," Brand said, per Brian Seltzer of the team's official site. "When I was at [games] when we followed him, I really liked what I saw out there."

This defensive ability helped Thybulle stand out throughout his college career, averaging 2.5 steals over his four seasons. He was especially impressive during his senior season when he averaged 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game, putting him in an exclusive class:

Jonathan Wasserman @NBADraftWass

Thybulle, the only player in @collegebb_ref to ever average at least 3 steals, 2 blocks, 1 3PT

The 6'5" player should continue making a positive impact on the defensive end while defending multiple positions right out of the gate.

At this point, the bigger question is what he can do to contribute offensively. He took a step back on that end during his senior season, averaging just 9.1 points per game while shooting 30.5 percent from three-point range.

Despite his struggles, he has showed in the past he can be a bigger threat from the outside, hitting 40.5 percent from deep during in 2016-17. He finished his college career knocking down 35.8 percent from three-point range.

If he can re-establish himself from the outside, Thybulle will get minutes with the Sixers this season. As it stands, he'll battle for minutes off the bench with wings like Zhaire Smith and James Ennis.

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