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Is Matisse Thybulle ready for a big step forward with 76ers? NBA Media Day roundup: Zion looking fit, Ayton sounding reserved, more Report: Heat, Celtics, Mavericks, Grizzlies may show interest in Crowder trade Durant, Irving talk about Nets moving on from ‘very awkward’ summer, but drama continues PBT Podcast: Golden State Warriors season preview

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Matisse Tibull brings a valuable NBA skill to the game – he’s an elite perimeter defender. Two-time All-Defensive Team in three years in the league.

But when the 76ers faced Miami in the playoffs, Tybull’s role was drastically reduced. While Doc Rivers needed his defense, Tybull’s lack of offensive play became a problem – the Heat largely ignored him and helped him, allowing Miami to spoil Philadelphia’s offense (he was capped in the Toronto series because he wasn’t vaccinated and could do not play road games). The 66ers tried to solve this problem in the offseason by bringing in DeAnthony Melton, House of Danuel as well as PJ Tucker – solid role-playing defenders who can help in the attack.

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Taibul also wants to be part of the solution, and told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he spent the summer focusing on his offensive game..

“I’m really proud of what I’ve done,” Tibulle said of his offseason. “I worked harder than I worked. And I had a meeting with [Sixers coach Doc Rivers] earlier this week and told him that I felt more motivated than before.”

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Without a doubt, Tybull has done the job, and we’ll soon find out if it’s paid off – and if it’s making money for Tybull.

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Taibul’s contract year begins – the 76ers can extend it until October 18, after which he will become a restricted free agent next summer. Tybull said his goal is to stay in Philadelphia (and he would like an extension).

“At this point, I would always like to stay in Philadelphia,” he said. “And if it is up to me, it will always be my choice.

“But given that I’ve come to terms with the reality of how far out of my control it is, if I get traded or something happens, I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day.”

With the Sixers winning, Daryl Morey could take a wait-and-see attitude with Tybull, allowing the market to set his price next offseason. If he signs now, it will most likely be a profitable deal for the team (but it might still work for the 25-year-old).

If Tybull comes on the court this season and shows improved attacking play when he can get teams to pay for help, his price will rise and several teams could apply for his services next summer. And Doc Rivers would be happy in the short term.

Now Taibula has to prove it.

Most of the NBA had a media day on Monday – some moments turned our heads.

Here’s what you need to know from the league’s press day – just the highlights. It doesn’t include anything about the Nets – there’s a separate story about them – or about the Lakers (there will be an article from the Lakers media day on Tuesday morning).

• Reports Zion Williamson being in the best shape of your career seems to be true. HoodieBev has the recipes.

We’ll see if this goes to trial – he’s under a lot of pressure – but Zion looks like he’s invested in the job.

• Talking about the players who looked their best, James Harden looked thinner. He joked that he had lost 100 pounds but also opened up about his diet and exercise regimen.

Deandre Ayton He got a four-year, $132.9 million contract extension this summer, but not because he was being handed out by the Suns. Ayton had to talk the Pacers into making an offer (which is why he doesn’t have a five-year contract), and then the Suns agreed. Ayton is a guy with a usually optimistic personality, but when asked about his new contract, he answered briefly and reservedly.

Trainer Monty Williams and All-Star Devin Booker both talked about how they expect Ayton to use the contract as motivation and have a monstrous season. We will watch.

• The Suns players and coach had to answer the question, “What do you think of the Robert Sarver investigation report?” question, and the answers were unanimous – they were disgusted, saddened and sympathetic to those (especially women) who had to deal with his behavior. They also told one person they had no idea (which, at least prior to ESPN’s initial report, may have been true; the way he handled the players and the business side seems to be different).

• The Celtics have all been asked about their former coach Ima Udoki’s suspension for the entire season. Marcus Smart well summarized the feelings – “it was hell.” They were caught off guard, like most of the NBA. However, for the man, they backed interim coach Joe Mazzulla.

• FROM PJ Tucker in Miami there was a lot of talk about Jimmy Butler playing with four, especially in closed games. Butler himself took it down, saying he was not a B.

The Heat continue to look for a trade for a four, but by the start of the season there may not be one.

• In his end-of-season press session last May, Pat Riley said: Kyle Lowry need to show themselves in the best shape this season. Looks like Lowry did it, but did it motivate him? “It doesn’t matter… everyone has their own opinion.”

• It’s not a media day if Kawhi Leonard laughs.

As for Leonard and load management this season, coach Tyrone Liu has said he will play by ear. But also, expect some.

The Phoenix Suns had a media day on Monday, but the veteran Jay Crowder there wasn’t, which was part of a mutual agreement with the team to sit it out until a trade could be found. He left players and GM James Jones solve the problem.

Which teams are interested in Crowder? Shams Charania of The Athletic advises keeping an eye on the Heat, Celtics, Mavericks and Grizzlies, among others.


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