Matisse Thybulle is one of the best defenders in the NBA
Matisse Thybulle is, without a doubt, one of the best defenders in the NBA. He proved himself on the college scene while playing at the University of Washington and the Pac-12. But the question always remains: “Can he do it on the NBA level?”
NBA scouts, coaches, and analysts take this question into heavy consideration before drafting a player. That seems to be the case even more so when it comes to international prospects. For example, many NBA scouts were raving about Luka Dončić’s defensive abilities. Nonetheless, Luka had a lot to prove when it came to this athleticism and lateral quickness, and it suffices to say that he’s getting there. Matisse Thybulle proved himself in college by winning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, which is “given to the most outstanding defensive player in men’s and women’s college basketball.” That same season, Matisse led the NCAA in steals, averaging 3.5 steals per game.
Matisse and his defensive abilities
On April 21st, when the Suns took on the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center, Matisse showcased his defensive abilities to the fullest extent. Matisse did this against one of the best scorers in the league in Devin Booker. Throughout his career, Booker has typically gone off in terms of scoring against the Sixers. Booker has averaged 28.8 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in 12 games against the Sixers; this is according to StatMuse.
That night, however, Matisse was able to keep Booker at striking distance. When the final buzzer sounded, Booker had shot only 6-for-14 from the field, going off for 19 points with a +/- of In that 6-for-14 shooting, Booker went 0-for-3 from three. Even though Thybulle went scoreless on the night, he had three blocks and two steals, showing that his hands were active throughout the game even though he couldn’t score.
To Booker’s credit, he hit a clutch shot down the stretch to put the Suns up 113-107 with 13.7 seconds left in the game. That sealed the win for the Suns, even though Joel Embiid come close to tying the game by pegging the ball from nearly full court. Though the Suns came up with the win, Matisse Thybulle again proved himself to be one of the best defenders in the NBA.