NBA rumors: Kings eyeing 76ers' Matisse Thybulle at trade deadline

Report: Kings eyeing trade for defensive-minded Thybulle originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Kings reportedly are looking to bolster their perimeter defense before the 2022-23 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Tuesday, citing sources, that Sacramento is “monitoring the availability” of Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle.

Thybulle, the No. 20 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, is one of the best perimeter stoppers in the NBA. He has been named to the NBA All-Defensive second team the last two seasons.

Nicknamed “Mathief,” Thybulle led the league in steal percentage (3.4) last season. He ranked third in total steals in 2020-21 (105) and eighth in 2021-22 (115).

The 25-year-old averaged 21.8 minutes per game over his first three NBA seasons but has seen his role diminished this year in Philadelphia (12.1 minutes per game). The 76ers have leaned heavily on their starting five while distributing minutes to newcomers like PJ Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and De’Anthony Melton in the rotation, leaving less available minutes for the defensive specialist.

Thybulle isn't known for his offense -- he has scored over 15 points just once in his career -- but he represents a solution to the Kings’ defensive issues. Through 49 games, Sacramento ranks second in offensive rating (117.2) and 21st in defensive rating (114.5).

Coach Mike Brown, who directed the Golden State Warriors’ defensive attack for six seasons before being hired in Sacramento, has been critical of his team’s defensive issues this season.

RELATED: De'Aaron, Monk fuel Kings to defensive win over Timberwolves

“I sound like a broken record when it comes to our defense,” Brown said Saturday following the Kings’ 113-95 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. "Somehow, some way, we have to come to these games with a mindset that we're going to make guys feel us.

"Our intensity and awareness level has to go up and it hasn't."

Thybulle would be a perfect fit as a bench piece in the Kings’ backcourt. The only question is if the 76ers will trade him and, if so, what the Kings would have to give up.