Which of Portland’s trade deadline additions could be a late-blooming star?

Cam Reddish. Portland Trailblazers - Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Reddish. Portland Trailblazers - Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matisse Thybulle, Portland Trailblazers
Matisse Thybulle, Portland Trailblazers – Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

Wing 2: Can Matisse Thybulle keep up his hot start?

Due to a popular NBA bubble vlog and an early key role for the Philadelphia 76ers, Matisse Thybulle is more of a household name than expected. He came into the league with a reputation as a defensive menace in college, and he’s done little to change that.

He’s twice been an All-Defensive second-teamer, using his fast hands, dynamic instincts, and stretchy length to force turnovers and bad shots from opposing teams.

If basketball had line changes like hockey or players only played on one side of the ball like in football, Thybulle would be an unquestionable defensive ace and an invaluable player.

Sadly, that’s not the case in basketball.

Thybulle came into the NBA as a limited offensive player and he’s done nothing to shake that reputation. He is not a threat to score with the ball in his hands and hasn’t shot above 36 percent from deep in his career. That’s led him to being almost completely ignored by opposing defenses, even in his few Portland appearances:

Thybulle has started all three games since the trade and performed admirably, hitting a handful of threes and utilizing his length on defense to explosive results. If he wants to stay in the starting lineup once Simons returns, however, he’ll need to be more than just a defensive stopper.

It’s unlikely that a change in coasts and time zones will lead to Thybulle growing into a capable shooter, but next to Lillard, Simons, and Grant, he’ll have a lot of space on offense to chuck up shots and see for himself if he can be even a passable offensive player.