A couple of hours before the 3 PM ET NBA trade deadline, the Portland Trail Blazers addressed one of their glaring weaknesses in a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
After a strong start to the 2022-2023 NBA season, the Portland Trail Blazers have faltered in a major way over the last two months. Certainly, Damian Lillard missing some time during that period had a notable effect. However, the teams fall in the standings, and our NBA power rankings, have mostly come due to their play of defense.
On Thursday, they addressed that problem on D in a major way. ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that the Portland Trail Blazers had acquired defensive ace Matisse Thybulle from the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal that would send Jalen McDaniels back in return.
Why Portland Trail Blazers acquiring Matisse Thybulle matters
The Trail Blazers have had serious trouble with high-level swingmen thus far this season. While they had or have talented players at the position like Josh Hart, Anfernee Simmons, and rookie Shaedon Sharpe, they are far better skilled at putting the ball in the basket as opposed to stopping opponents from doing so.
In trading Hart to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the team opened up the small forward spot and was able to fill it with a player that has earned All-NBA defense second-team honors over the last two seasons.
While Thybulle’s stats don’t jump off the page, his acquisition has a very specific goal in mind: To try and shut down top swingman players on opposing offenses. That should only help their star scorers and take away the defensive load they have been used to each night.