LAS VEGAS — On Friday, Matisse Thybulle hopes to provide a glimpse as to why the 76ers lived up to their promise to select him in last month’s draft.
The Sixers will face the Milwaukee Bucks at 12:30 p.m. Friday in their NBA Summer League opener at the UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
It will be Thybulle’s first game since March, when he finished his senior season at Washington. While others might have lofty goals for him, the 6-foot-5 swingman said he just wants to “get comfortable and be on point as much as possible.”
“Try to minimize the mistakes and be in the right place as much as I can,” said Thybulle, 22, a native of Scottsdale, Ariz. “We’ve only had like six practices. We are not going to be perfect when we get out there. So I don’t expect perfection, but I want to try and get as close as I can.”
A successful summer-league season would involve growing with each game, he said. Thybulle points out that most rookies don’t know what to expect in their first few summer-league games.
The Sixers’ coaches have joked with him about how players play too hard, too fast, and turn the ball over too much in the first 10 minutes.
That’s why Thybulle is focused on being comfortable, finding his rhythm, and moving on from there. He said he’s more excited than nervous about playing in a real game setting for the first time in more than three months.
The Sixers moved up four spots in a trade with the Boston Celtics to select him with the 20th pick in the NBA draft last month. Boston received the Sixers’ 24th pick and the 33rd overall selection in the second round.
All this came after the Sixers promised Thybulle they would draft him if he was available.
Thybulle garnered both the Naismith and Pac-12 awards for defensive player of the year. He’s making a switch from zone defense in college to man-to-man as a Sixer. As one might expect, the Sixers are eager to see how he does in that area on Friday. They want to see if Thybulle understands what it takes to be a physical on-ball defender, and to get to the ball on pick-and-rolls.
“He’s got a lot of natural talent that comes out,” said Delaware Blue Coats coach Connor Johnson, who is coaching the Sixers’ summer-league team.