When picking players this late, heck I guess all throughout the process, there is a debate over whether to take someone with a balanced skill set and room to improve, or someone who already possesses at least one elite skill but lacks too many others. A balanced scale versus a tipped one. Matisse Thybulle, the number 25 selection, certainly represents the latter in that equation.
A senior who played out his full career with the revolving door of high-class recruits at Washington, Matisse Thybulle is a draft prospect whose entire pedigree, for the most part, is built upon his defensive prowess. A two-time winner of the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, his abilities on that end, combined with his measurables, make him a fascinating gamble for teams potentially in the latter stages of the draft. It also makes it far harder to break down his game for guys like me parachuting in to watch a few YouTube clips.
Let’s start with some of the counting stats though. Interestingly, his shot totals actually decreased from his junior to his senior year, with him attempting even fewer shots than his sophomore season despite being an elder statesman. The positive news for scouts is that a little over half of his total field goal attempts in college came from behind the arc, where he converted on 35.8% of those. His senior season was a career-worst 30.5%, but he had just completed 40.5% and 36.5% seasons on similar volume the two years prior. His 78.2% free throw percentage, albeit on much smaller volume, points to at least some potential as a shooter. Whether that jumper translates would likely make the difference between him being Tony Allen vs. Danny Green.
His dwindling shot attempts point towards a player willing to dish it to his teammates, although there’s certainly an argument to be made that he could’ve capitalized on his senior role and commanded more control of the offense. He wasn’t deterred from rifling away in college, but he did show some issues finishing at the tin despite his 6’5” frame and 7’ wingspan. With those extend-o arms, he should be able to approximate a little of what Malcolm Brogdon does in flipping the ball in quickly and surprising defenders with his arm length.
But enough bouncing around the periphery of his main selling point, let’s talk about his defensive potential. Averaging 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks as a senior is nuts. The steals are a little more understandable given that Washington played within a zone scheme and he had some leeway to freelance within their system given his superior athleticism and defensive savvy. Zone scheme is the operative word here though. He hasn’t played man-to-man for several years, but he projects as a prime candidate to play within switching schemes. His length and quick feet mean he could reasonably face-guard oppoenents while still being able to recover should they blow by him.
The Stepien details how his sheer numbers are tough to ignore. They make a very solid point that, even in the zone, it seems ridiculous to ignore the productivity given the significant number of people that have played within that scheme over the years, yet haven’t come close to replicating Thybulle’s productivity. He ended the year with 82 blocks and 126 steals, unrivaled numbers in the last 25 years of college basketball.
Add on top of that the fact that his shooting seems passable and Thybulle seems like someone NBA teams will pounce on in the first round. At worst, his defensive floor seems solid enough that he could be a competent contributor on that end for awhile. His shooting may wax and wane, but when it waxes, he will be quite valuable to whatever team happens to be the beneficiaries. He may not have all the passing or dribbling skills the Bucks likely covet in a wing, but with his size, you could see him sliding up to the four in smallball lineups, a massive boon for a late round draft pick. He may be a senior, so there’s less upside than most, but given the fact he played in a non-NBA defense and hasn’t benefited from the refinements of an NBA shooting coach, I can see some low-hanging fruit where Thybulle could boost his own play.
My pick for the #26 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Talen Horton-Tucker - SF, Iowa State
Dylan Windler - SF, Belmont
Nic Claxton - C, Georgia
Jontay Porter - C, Missouri
Carsen Edwards - SG, Purdue
Luka Samanic - Union Olimpija
Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
- Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
- Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
- R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
- Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
- Coby White - SG, UNC
- De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
- Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
- Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
- Nassir Little - SF, UNC
- Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
- Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
- Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
- Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
- P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
- Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
- Bol Bol - PF, Oregon
- Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
- Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Virginia Tech
- Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
- Ty Jerome - SG, Virginia
- Keldon Johnson - SF, Kentucky
- Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee
- Matisse Thybulle - SF, Washington