Ben Simmons believes Philadelphia Sydney-raised teammate Matisse Thybulle is ready to excel for the Boomers at this Tokyo Olympics after producing an All-Defensive First Team calibre NBA season.
Simmons’ high praise comes after Thybulle became the first player in NBA history (playoffs or regular season) to have four steals and five blocks in less than 20 minutes in the 76ers’ Game 2 win over Washington on Thursday.
The 24-year-old guard has been named in the Boomers squad for the Games and is expected to make the final 12-man cut for Tokyo.
Ben Simmons anoints defensive beast Matisse Thybulle (pictured) Olympic ready. Picture: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Simmons has no doubts that Thybulle’s defensive mindset will perfectly suit the pinnacle of the international game for basketball – the Olympics.
“One hundred per cent – the level that he plays, and he is already playing at the best level now,” said Simmons, an ambassador for Kayo Sport, where you can live stream the NBA playoffs.
“The game is a little bit different in international, but at the same time he is more than capable of doing that.”
Simmons has been so impressed with Thybulle’s defence this season that he believes the guard deserves the ultimate recognition from the NBA at the league’s annual season awards.
“To me, he is probably first team (defence),” he said.
“I don’t see another three guard as good as him defensively right now, just the way he has been playing.”
Simmons nominated Thybulle’s ability to listen and learn on the run as the key to his success this season.
He says the quality to look in the mirror and improve is often the difference between the good and great NBA players.
“I think the more you play, the more you know, especially in the NBA,” he said.
Simmons has nominated 76ers teammate Matisse Thybulle ready to excel on the big stage. Picture: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP.Source:AFP
“Guys often reach a limit, in terms of what they are able to do on the floor and you can kind of read them.
“But I think he (Matisse) is getting better at reading each player defensively and getting in the lanes.
“Obviously, with his length he is able to get deflections and steals.”
Simmons’ Philadelphia side is in a strong position leading 2-0 in their first-round Eastern Conference series against Washington.
The 76ers look a class above the Wizards with big guns like Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Danny Green all starring.
Simmons has also stood out, and he credits 76ers coach Doc Rivers’ player-first focus for helping the team produce on the floor.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Doc and he understands that basketball is a part of it, but at the same time there are lot of things going on in this world,” he said.
“And he cares about the person.
“That is just another aspect to it. He is human and he has been a player first and then a coach. He has seen a lot of things. There have been a lot of changes since Doc has been in the league, and he has seen the league come a long way.
“I think him being a part of that is huge. And being a black coach in the NBA is amazing and incredible, so he has also been a huge part of the success here.”
Simmons’ 76ers will look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead over Washington in Game 3 on Sunday from 9am (AEST).
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