The Matisse Thybulle could be the most improved 76er.
The expectation is that the goalkeeper will be a fully available and two-way force for a team determined to challenge for the NBA title.
This is the result of all the unofficial work of Thybulle, trying to improve his offensive game. Also helping is Canada’s plan to phase out COVID-19 vaccine requirements by Friday. The policy change will allow all unvaccinated players, such as Thybulle, to enter the country, meaning he will be allowed to play against the Toronto Raptors on October 26-28 at the Scotiabank Arena.
So, on Monday at Team Media Day, we’ll see a more fitting version of Thybulle. The 25-year-old has added seven pounds to his frame, which is now 6-foot-5, 206-pound.
He said he’s also improved his offensive game.
Thybulle spent some time in the summer training with the permanent Portland Trail Blazers all-star Damian Lillard and celebrity shooting coach Phil Beckner in Phoenix among other cities. Improving outdoor photography was one of his focus. He also went to Los Angeles to work on ball handling and finishing around the basket with Chicago Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan under ball handler Johnny Stephen, aka Dribble2Much and HandleLife Johnny.
He’s also spent a lot of time at the Sixers training facility in Camden training in front of the executives and the team.
Thybulle’s goal was to get the Sixers to see for themselves the work he did and the offensive improvements he made.
It has succeeded.
“Mattis has been the most consistent player at Camden this summer, spending countless hours on his game that will surely turn a profit in the future,” said Daryl Morey, Sixers’ chief of basketball operations. “We are excited about his future.”
This off season was the first one in which Thybulle was able to focus on improving his offensive game. He was unable to do so after the junior season due to the pandemic lockdown and extended season in the bubble. Last summer he was with the Australian Olympic basketball team, winning a bronze medal in Tokyo.
“I’m really proud of what I did,” Thybulle said of his off-season performance. “I worked harder than I did.
“I had a meeting with [Sixers coach Doc Rivers] Earlier this week I was telling him that I feel like I’m buying more than I did before.”
Don’t make it crooked. Thybulle hasn’t lacked effort in the past.
He said, “It’s just a different feeling you get when you can see more of yourself when you apply for your profession, for the team and just give in to work and live whatever the outcome.”
At the end of last season, Thybulle did not advance offensively to the satisfaction of the Sixers. In the postseason, he was left wide open for a shot while defenders left him to double down on one of his teammates.
He also missed three road games in Toronto in the first round of the Sixers Series because he was not vaccinated.
He was vilified by Sixers fans and later shopped for potential deals during the holiday period. The Sixers attempted to acquire Houston Rockets winger Eric Gordon and were using Thybulle as an asset, even trying to get a third team to participate, according to multiple league sources.
But Thybulle didn’t allow business discussions to wreck him.
It became a catalyst for him to make the necessary improvements.
Besides his constant presence at the team’s training facility, he even met the team in Las Vegas for rehearsals and cheered at the Summer Sixers during the July NBA Summer League.
“For me, it was just giving in to whatever outcome it would be,” Thibault said. “It’s funny because I will say that I decided to be completely selfish.”
Thybulle chose to do everything he could mentally and physically to be the best version of himself as a player and as a person.
He’s learned that it’s more about the journey than the destination.
“At this point, I always want to stay in Philly,” he said. “And if it were up to me, that would always be my choice.
“But given the fact that I realized how out of my control it really was, if I traded or something happened, I could look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day.”
With that said, he is eligible for a five-year, $188 million extension with The Sixers.
When asked if he thought his membership should be extended, Thibault, who started 50 of his 66 games last season, said “Absolutely.”
“You call it a part-time start,” he said. “But I would call it being a starter for over half a season for one of the best teams in the NBA who had very serious aspirations for the championship. I don’t think that’s a small achievement. And I think that is totally worth the extension.”
Last season, Thybulle . was NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team Pick For the second consecutive campaign. Not bad for someone who averaged 25.5 minutes.
He finished fourth in the league in steals with an average of 1.7 per game. It also averaged 1.1 pieces. He became the first part-time player to make the All-Defensive team in consecutive seasons since Nate McMillan in 1994 and 1995.
But that doesn’t mean that for Thybulle, things weren’t mentally tough last season.
He transformed from the lovable and media-loving Seixir to the despised villain when News broke on April 6 that he had not been vaccinated. Criticized in the media and booed at home games. Aside from going to his sanctuary, the two-acre park on reclaimed land near his residence in the Northern Liberities, Thybulle was greeted with unpleasant feelings in the Philadelphia area.
As far as the trade and just these articles and everything that was said about me in the media, it made me doubt what I had brought to the table.” “It actually made me question what value I was bringing to the team.
“After coming back to the team, playing pick-up and stuff and giving myself up, it allowed me to reach out to see myself and see what I’m bringing in and admit that I’m valuable.”
Now, he’s determined to be a more complete player than his career averages of 4.8 points and 32.4% on all three points suggest.
“In short, I couldn’t be happier with the way Tess attacked Summer,” Rivers said. “He was one of our worthy laborers. He worked on both the things we needed him to work on the land, and on his body and his strength.”
And perhaps the best part is that there is no limiting its availability to all 82 regular season matches and potential post-season appearances with Canada scrapping vaccination restrictions.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” said Thibault. “I mean, this weight has become unbearable at times from last year with the criticism. And that’s one decision [not to get vaccinated] Turned a story around me. I didn’t know it would go this far.”
He never wanted to be unable to play and help his team. He never wanted them to doubt his loyalty to the Sixers and how dedicated he was to helping them win the NBA title.
“Now,” he said, “it’s just a matter of me doing it, showing up and doing the work.”