Ben Simmons has seen enough of Matisse Thybulle in practice to be glad he won’t have to face him in the regular season, writes Rich Hoffman of The Athletic. “I hate him on defense,” Simmons said of the rookie guard, who displayed his defensive prowess in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage. He forced turnovers throughout the afternoon and had an impressive block on a shot by Josh Richardson.
“I’m just chasing the ball every chance I get,” Thybulle said. “Deflections are just a side effect of hustle for me. … It’s fun to get out there and get a little feel, wreak a little havoc.”
It’s not clear how much the Sixers are planning to use the 20th overall pick, but he provides a disruptive force that can be useful to shut down perimeter scorers. Hoffman notes that Thybulle comes into the league with both a “high motor” and a quick recognition of what opponents are doing, two things that usually take time for rookies to develop.
There’s more Sixers news to pass along:
- Players recognize the commitment that Philadelphia’s front office has made by handing out so many long-term contracts, Al Horford told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. In addition to adding Horford as a free agent for $109MM for four years, the organization re-signed Tobias Harris this summer and gave a five-year extension to Simmons. “It helps tremendously because we can focus on playing and doing some special things,” Horford said. “Knowing the organization believes in this core and this group. They’ve showed it by giving us all long-term deals.”
- Richardson is quickly emerging as a team leader, notes Lauren Rosen of NBA.com. Acquired from the Heat in the Jimmy Butler trade, Richardson has been working with younger players, particularly Zhaire Smith. The fifth-year swingman sees it as part of his overall responsibilities to help make the team better. “I’m kind of a guy that can morph into any role that I need to on any nightly basis to give us the best chance to win,” he said.
- The battle for the backup point guard slot remains competitive, relays Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. New additions Raul Neto and Trey Burke are vying for the position, but coach Brett Brown suggested Shake Milton may be considered as well.