NBA Free Agency: Chicago Bulls targets COULD include Matisse Thybulle

It’s no secret that the Bulls could use defensive assist on the wing. Although guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso (when healthy) give Chicago plenty of perimeter punch, All-Star wingers Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan have never been more defensive. DeRozan, who spent time at the small and forward during the 2021-22 season, is an especially vulnerable target for opposing offenses.

Extension-eligible Philadelphia 76ers winger Matisse Thybulle, fresh off an inconsistent third year with the Sixers, could be a great choice as a bench wing spelling LaVine and DeRozan. The 6’5” guard was touted as a potential trade target for the Bulls this summer, by’s Sean Deveny. Deveny notes that Chicago general manager Marc Eversley, while in office in Philadelphia in 2019, played a significant role in Philly’s decision to trade draft rights to select Thybulle with the No. 20 pick. from the University of Washington.

Thybulle’s limitations on offense led Sixers head coach Doc Rivers to turn to a former Danny Green in the playoffs as Philadelphia’s fifth starter ahead of two-time All-Defensive Second Teamer of 25 years. Thybulle was knocked out healthy for half the games in the Sixers’ first round game against the Toronto Raptors (which Philadelphia won 4-2).

Although he may be one of the best defensemen in the league (in 2020-21, Thybulle led the NBA with an average of 3.8 interceptions per 100 possessions and 5.6 deflections per 36 minutes), he has yet to record more than 25.5 minutes per game during the regular season. due to an unreliable jumper. For his career, Thybulle posted an average of 4.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.1 assists and one block. Last season’s numbers are in line with that: he averaged 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 assists.

Eager Sixers fans, whose heart was recently broken by another All-Defensive guard with the shooting yelps, must have it though Thybulle turned a corner when he connected on 44% of his three-point attempts in the last 15 contests of the 2021-22 regular season. Unfortunately, it may have just been a fluke: Thybulle only made 28.6% of his triples in the 2022 playoffs.

But my God, the speed. Check out Thybulle’s cooldown here:

Make no mistake, though: he’s an elite defender, capable of effectively protecting everyone from Stephen Curry to Jayson Tatum, and given the arsenal of goals that would theoretically surround him on the list of Chicago, Thybulle could help adapt to the club’s defensive lapses along the wing or in the front court as an occasional power forward. His 6′ 11″ wingspan, foot speed and athletic prowess allow him to cover many of the league’s top scorers. The 6’4″ Caruso and 6’6″ Ball can defend bigger and heavier players, but don’t have the length or insane speed of Thybulle.

Granted, the Bulls were the last dead in three-point shooting last season, and this signing wouldn’t be on that side of the court. The team also needs more shooters, no doubt. But they could also use defense assistance. This year, Thybulle has pulled well from the charity strip (79.1%) after two shaky previous seasons. While he converted 50% of his field goals, he only managed 31.3% of his 2.2 triple attempts.

He’s not just a good defender. It’s a great:

The Sixers are a team that might actually make sense as a potential destination for another Class of 2019 rookie, reserve combo guard Coby White. A Thybulle trade for White with maybe some second-round cold work for this defense-hungry Bulls fan.