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Matisse Thybulle (SI.com)

Basketball

Sixers trade up in first round, draft top defender, Mattise Thybulle

Second time in three years the Sixers trade with Boston to select a player from the University of Washington.

The Philadelphia 76ers had to trade up to get the man they wanted in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, held Thursday night at Barclays Center. Philadelphia sent their No. 24 and No. 33 picks to the Boston for the Celtics No. 20 spot and selected University of Washington forward Mattise Thybulle.

Their were rumors of the Sixers having given Thybulle a first-round promise. Boston likely got wind of this and used it to their advantage in striking a deal.

Thybulle is potentially a perfect fit for the Sixers. Thought to be the best perimeter defender in this draft class, Thybulle can lock up multiple positions on the court. The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year should make an immediate impact on the defensive end for Philadelphia. Pairing him with Zhaire Smith provides the Sixers with a lock-down pair off the bench.

At 6’6 with a 7′ wingspan, Thybulle has quick hands and instincts in passing lanes. He averaged 4.4 steals and 2.8 blocks his senior year at Washington, although the Huskies played mostly zone defense.

Where Thybulle lacks ability is offensively and in a crowd. He does not play very physical and could struggle is paired up against opposing power forwards. He is best when left in space.

Thybulle can use his frame and long reach to play above the rim.

Offensively, Thybulle is more of a role player. How that plays out in Philadelphia will remain to be seen. it could turn out to be a blessing as Thybulle can blend in on an offense that features top scorers Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the potential return of free agent Jimmy Butler. The lone offensive potential seems to be in transition.

The last time the Sixers trade up to select a player from Washington was just two years ago. Anyone remember how that turned out?

The bottom line is the Sixers had a plan in place, a player they targeted, and they went and made sure to get him. Thybulle has the potential to impact immediately on the defensive side of the floor. The question is, can he develop into any type of offensive threat in the NBA or will opposing defenses be able to leave him almost uncovered.

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