The Sixers made a major move during the NBA’s 2019 free agent period with the sign-and-trade of Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat.
The loss of Butler, an elite two-player at the 2/3 wing position, would seemingly open the possibility of significant minutes for Thybulle.
However, the Sixers shrewdly received young up-and-coming 2-way wing Josh Richardson in the deal.
Versatility. Spacing. Defense.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 6, 2019
Richardson, the former second round draft pick (#40 overall) out of Tennessee, made an early name for himself in the NBA as a disruptive defender with the ability to defend multiple positions.
Richardson worked to develop his offensive game and this paid off in his fourth season with career highs in points (16.6), rebounds (3.6) and assists (4.1) per game.
The Sixers will surely expect Josh Richardson to replace Jimmy Butler in their starting lineup.
So what effect will adding Josh Richardson to the Sixers lineup have on Matisse Thybulle’s rookie season?
First, the Sixers will not have to use multiple players to fill the hole left by Jimmy Butler’s absence.
Richardson is expected to take on Butler’s former role and responsibilities, so there will be less minutes available for Thybulle than if the Sixers had taken a by-committee approach to replacing Butler.
However, this probably a good thing for Thybulle since he will get the chance to develop normally as a rookie, instead of a trial by fire in game situations.
Expect Thybulle to earn solid minutes as a situational substitution player, primarily subbing for Richardson, although he may play with him if the Sixers go with a small-ball lineup.
Second, most importantly Josh Richardson is a perfect role model for Matisse Thybulle.
Thybulle and Richardson are similar in size: both are 6’6” 200 pounds with above average wingspan — reportedly, 6’10” for Richardson and 7’0″ for Thybulle.
Both are effective at using their athleticism, body control and length when they drive the lane.
Both are primarily effective from three-point distance with stationary catch-and-shoot jumpers, and neither is known for creating long-distance jumpers off-the-dribble,
Another significant similarity is that both played mostly zone defense in college, Josh Richardson at Tennessee and Thybulle in Washington’s 2-3 zone.
Defensively, Richardson made the transition from zone defense to become a disruptive man defender.
Judging from his performances so far in NBA summer league games, Thybulle is well on his way to making this transition as well.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 7, 2019
Finally, Josh Richardson has a reputation as a high character guy, much like Matisse.
Richardson’s early success and development as a player is attributed to work ethic, high energy and effort.
Personality-wise it should be a much better fit for Thybulle to emulate Richardson, rather than the notoriously difficult and prickly Jimmy Butler.
Matisse Thybulle is just starting on the same path that Richardson has taken and is just further down the road.
Like Richardson, it is safe to expect that Thybulle will earn early minutes with his defense and work hard to develop his offense to expand his role and playing time with the Sixers.