Doc Rivers explains his decision to cast Danny Green over Matisse Thybulle
On track for the 2021-2022 season NBA season, Philadelphia 76ers Third-year winger Matisse Thybulle was a reserve for the team. While the Sixers liked Thybulle as a situational defender and thought they could rely on Danny Green as a long-range shooter and ground spacer, Doc Rivers stuck to a similar game plan to last year.
But Danny Green hasn’t been as reliable this year throughout the season. Although he had a few solid games, Green was in and out of the lineup due to injuries, and he struggled to find consistency on the court.
Eventually, Rivers sought to use Thybulle as a full-time starter. While he was sprinkled in the starting lineup here and there, he made a long streak of starting lineup appearances, starting on December 20.
For 41 consecutive games, Rivers has launched Thybulle. The third-year veteran averaged 26 minutes on the court during that span. This week, the streak ended as the young defensive ace was not cleared to play against the Toronto Raptors on the road as COVID restrictions deemed him ineligible to play in Toronto.
Therefore, Doc Rivers made the obvious decision to promote Green back to the starting lineup. While Green has had its ups and downs throughout the year, he had a stellar outing in Toronto as he knocked down seven threes and tallied 18 points.
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With Thybulle back in the mix for Saturday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, it looked like Rivers would return to his original roster by trading Green and Thybulle. However, Green made his second straight start.
The doctor’s decision
“We talked about it before, just for continuity [we started Danny Green]”Doc Rivers said. “You know, and I love how difficult it is for teams to plan a game. I like being able to do one or the other because the surprise is always good.”
Starting Green made sense for several reasons beyond continuity. Not only could the Sixers face the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs, which would eliminate Thybulle’s availability for half the series, but Green is helping with the recent starting lineup spacing issues, which James Harden has highlighted as one of Philly’s critics. issues.
“Danny has experience, and he just brings more spacing,” Harden said after Saturday’s game. “We’re trying to juggle that. Obviously Matisse missed the last game, and we’re trying to juggle how we’re going to play depending on who we’re up against in the playoffs.”
Although Green hasn’t been completely reliable this season, he has looked much better in the last two clashes. After driving in 18 points Thursday in Toronto, the veteran followed that up with a 15-point outing on Saturday against Indiana.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.