Trade 3: Ben Simmons, Mike Scott, & Matisse Thybulle for Harden
This type of return might be what the Rockets are looking for and Scott could be swapped for any veteran on the Sixers’ roster for salary purposes. Scott is not bad and his game is reminiscent of another Rocket.
Scott is an undersized power forward at 6’7 with a reliable 3-point stroke, which sounds exactly like P.J. Tucker. Outside of the superficial similarities, Scott is not the same defender that Tucker is but he would provide depth and an insurance policy if Tucker is injured or traded.
While Scott is not an exciting player, Thybulle is an interesting young prospect who could be a real plus on the defensive end. Last season, his defensive rating per 100 possessions was 106, which was 4.6 points better than the league average of 110.6.
Rookies tend to struggle on defense which means his potential on that end could see him make an All-defensive team at his peak. While his defense is his calling card, his offense needs to improve for him to be anything more than a specialist.
Thybulle hit 35.7-percent of his 3-pointers and an even better 41.5-percent from the corner in his rookie season. Bruce Bowen turned defense and corner 3-point shooting into a long career but there is a reason for concern that Thybulle’s shooting could regress.
His 61-percent shooting from the free-throw line is a big red flag and he experienced a tremendous amount of variance from the line in college. Thybulle, over four years of college, went from 71.4-percent to 84.1-percent, back to 71.4-percent, and up to 85.1-percent.
Free throw shooting tends to be a better indicator of future 3-point shooting success than any other metric. A player who has experienced such fluctuations with their free-throw shooting usually has inconsistent mechanics which can doom a player from behind the arc in the NBA.
Thybulle, after one season, is already really good on defense and if his offense can grow he’ll be an excellent 3-and-D player for years to come. Snagging Ben Simmons, Thybulle, and multiple first-round picks will position the Rockets to be a contender down the line even if it means a step back this season.
This deal probably satisfies the Rockets’ desire to cut salary and build for a brighter future in the next few seasons. However, there is a wildcard that exists in all of these trade negotiations that might be the reason why a deal hasn’t been done.
Next: The Wildcard