Matisse Thybulle Voted Best Defender in 2019 NBA Draft Class
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) -- There was something in Washington Huskies guard Matisse Thybulle that Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand needed to bring to Philly. Over this past offseason, size has been a focal point of the Sixers' latest acquisitions as Brand, and Brett Brown proved they prefer a lineup stacked with taller prospects.
However, Thybulle's size didn't play a factor in the Sixers doing everything they could to land him. That's not to say that Thybulle is on the shorter side of the spectrum, as he does stand relatively tall at six-foot-five-inches -- but his height isn't what intrigued the Sixers' front office leader.
Rather, it was Thybulle's abilities on the defensive side of the ball. During his stint in the NCAA with the Huskies, Thybulle established himself as one of college basketball's better defenders. And by the time he was wrapping up his collegiate career, Thybulle's defense had him recognized as the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
Over the course of the offseason, Thybulle's name wasn't brought up a ton in Philadelphia, but Sixers' GM Elton Brand did make him somewhat of a guarantee. He told Thybulle they were going to get him no matter what -- and he did just that as the Sixers made a trade with the Boston Celtics to acquire the eventual 20th overall pick.
Seeing as though defense played a massive part of the Sixers 2018 success, Thybulle just adds more dangerous weapons to the arsenal. The Sixers know they got an elite defensive prospect, and apparently the 2019 NBA Draftees know that as well. Recently, during a 2019-2020 NBA rookies survey, Thybulle came up with the most votes when it came to recognizing the best defender in the class.
According to Sixers.com reporter Lauren Rosen, Thybulle received 37-percent of the votes in the category. That's the largest percentage of votes for a player on the category since Pacers' Victor Oladipo came into the league in 2013. While Thybulle proved himself in college and even in the NBA Summer League, he's now onto his real test this fall as everybody anticipates a strong season from the rookie in 2019.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @JGrasso_