Sixers’ young wings Matisse Thybulle, Zhaire Smith are both solid, but different defenders
Smith has a solid center of gravity that enabled him to get lower balance level than the person he’s guarding. Meanwhile, Thybulle excels off the ball.
The 76ers will tell you they have two good defensive wings in rookie Matisse Thybulle and second-year man Zhaire Smith.
They are just different types of defenders.
“Matisse’s ability [is] off the ball where he can cover ground and shoot gaps, get in lanes and pick stuff out of the sky with his length,” head coach Brett Brown said.
Meanwhile, Smith has a solid center of gravity that enables him to get a lower balance level than the person he’s guarding.
“I say he reminds me of [Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard] Avery Bradley at times,” Brown said of Smith. “That side of it stands out of it for me of him. ....
"[Smith and Thybulle] are both tremendous athletes, and for their ages.”
Thybulle, 22, and a four-year player out of the University of Washington, has yet to even play in an NBA preseason game. Meanwhile, Smith, 20, played in eight games total -- six in the regular season -- after missing the majority of his rookie season with a broken foot and a life-threatening allergic reaction to food.
So being able to carry over their solid training-camp effort to an actual game will be the next step.
But they are making solid impressions, nonetheless.