Spurs Prospect Watch: Matisse Thybulle

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San Antonio has been reeling as of late as the Rodeo Road Trip has not been kind to the Spurs. They are 1-7 on the trip and have just not looked good. However, they are still looking at a pick outside of the lottery for now, but for this week’s prospect watch we will go a little further back to the second round.

While the Spurs do not lack for wing players, it is never a bad idea to grab an extra one in case of offseason moves and especially one who is defensive-minded like Washington’s Matisse Thybulle. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard is a monster on defense and can guard the best wingmen on the opposing team and does. Here are some of his numbers for the season:

  • 9.9 PPG, 3.5 SPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.1 APG
  • 44.3 FG%, 33.6 3P%, 85.2 FT%
  • 22.4 PER, 111.5 ORtg, 85.3 DRtg

Thybulle is an excellent defender as you can see from the numbers above and is stronger than his frame might lead you to believe. He’s a sneaky defender as he gets to balls while the handler is turned around or he gets quick steals by freelancing a bit within Washington’s zone. He cuts off passing lanes well and stifles ball handlers with his plus-size wingspan, quick feet, high motor and great instincts. While some people would knock the fact that he plays in a zone, there are actually plenty of zone principles at the NBA level. Most notably, the idea of help-side defense coming off their own man where Thybulle greatly excels.

The young man clearly has some concerns on offense as he doesn’t score much and is not known as a superb passer. However, he is a solid scorer off the dribble and on the move. He clearly is solid at the free throw line, but he does not get there often as he only shoots about two free throws a game. The Husky guard could find himself in a 3-and-D role for the Spurs as he is a great 3-point shooter when he’s set and waiting for a pass of dribble penetration. He has his hands ready at all times to shoot and has a decent shooting form that is easily repeatable.

One of the biggest assets that Thybulle has in his arsenal though is his basketball IQ. As great as he is defensively, there are some things he does well on the offensive side too. He knows when to cut, where to cut and how to create open lanes for his teammates. Those are some great ways to earn playing time even if you aren’t hitting shots. He’ll have to improve on the shot making aspect of his game for sure, but he should do plenty of other things well enough to warrant him getting minutes with more offensively-minded lineups in need of a defender.

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