Matisse Thybulle: Defense
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Though noted for his off-ball prowess, Thybulle is still a solid point-of-attack defender. One of his strongest defensive abilities is baiting ball handlers into taking bad shots or overextending by opening his hips and forcing them the way he wants them to go. He does a good job pushing offenses toward midrange or contested shots and is very smart about using his length to challenge without fouling. He is overzealous at times on closeouts and can often be left behind with a quick dribble move.
One of the most instinctual defenders in the class, his off-ball skills have been the subject of many (deservedly) glowing reviews this season. He creates extra possessions with his steals, prevents easy looks as a rotating shot blocker, and can contest at all three levels without fouling. He also has the benefit of experience, playing solid minutes in all four seasons at UW, something which particularly shows up in his defensive IQ. He assesses offenses quickly, even out of set plays, and knows where to be to prevent easy looks.
Another very strong area for the senior, Thybulle’s numbers are largely indicative of his help side abilities. He creates steals by doubling down or by clogging passing lanes and gets blocks off helping on rotations. He has a high IQ and fits well as a team defender who communicates and moves well. His numbers in this area are a little deceptive, however, given the aggressive nature of Mike Hopkins' variety of zone. He will still be a very advanced rookie, but don't expect to see three steals per game out of the gate in a predominantly man system.
This is a theoretical area which is open to some debate. Thybulle has great feet and quick hands (usually a good indicator of quality point-of-attack defenders) and challenges shots well with his length. But at 6'5” and 195 pounds he has limited positionality in straight switching schemes. He would probably be better served as a guard who fights over/under screen actions as opposed to outright switching while he develops his core strength.
High impact plays
Although inflated by the zone, the numbers speak for themselves. Thybulle is unparalleled at generating events at the college level.