Eight 3-and-D players the Houston Rockets should target

Philadelphia 76ers Matisse Thybulle (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers Matisse Thybulle (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Philadelphia 76ers Matisse Thybulle (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

1. Matisse Thybulle

Matisse Thybulle seems like a bit of a long shot, as the Philadelphia 76ers will surely want to keep the rookie guard. Thybulle fits the definition of 3-and-D as he is currently shooting 37.1 percent from deep, which would be the third-best on the Houston Rockets. Thybulle is also averaging 2.8 3-point attempts per game, which is a number that would certainly increase if he were donning a Houston Rockets uniform.

The 22-year-old guard has the green light to fire away from deep in Mike D’Antoni’s offense and would get more attempts as well, with Harden and Westbrook setting him up for open looks. Thybulle currently averages 1.6 defensive win shares, which is higher than elite defenders such as Trevor Ariza and even Paul George, which is impressive for a rookie. To put this in perspective, Thybulle averages the same amount of defensive win shares as Houston Rockets defensive specialist PJ Tucker.

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At 6-foot-5, Thybulle has the size to defend multiple positions on the floor, which would be a huge boost for a Houston Rockets team that can’t say the same about most other players on the roster. Thybulle also has a defensive box plus-minus average of 3.6, which ranks 11th in the entire league. On top of that, Thybulle has a defensive field goal percentage of 40.2 percent, which would be the second-best on the Houston Rockets behind only Eric Gordon.

The Washington product is averaging 2.7 steals and 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes, which would benefit the Rockets as it would be the highest steals per 36 minutes on the team. The 76ers don’t have a reason to dump Thybulle so this seems like a pipe dream, but he’s only playing 20 minutes per contest, which are only the seventh-most minutes on the Sixers.

From a salary standpoint, Thybulle is making $2.5 million, meaning the Rockets could trade Nene’s 2.5 million in outgoing salary to make the salaries match. But there’s absolutely no way the Sixers will take that package for a young player who has the ability to be a top-tier defender in the league.

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But it would be tempting for the Sixers if Rockets general manager Daryl Morey packages multiple first-round picks, especially considering the fact that the Sixers aren’t playing him a lot n spite of his lockdown defense.