Sixers again have no selections on Rising Stars rosters

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Sixers guards Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey were not among the players named Wednesday as Rising Stars for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Though no Rising Stars Game will be played this season because of the NBA’s decision to condense its All-Star events into one night, the league’s assistant coaches still voted for 10 first- and second-year players from both the United States and rest of the world. 

Below are the rosters: 

Thybulle, a dual citizen of the United States and Australia, has again been an exceptional defender in Year 2. His 3.2 steal percentage and 2.6 block percentage are both best among NBA wings, per Cleaning the Glass. Whenever the Sixers have turned to a zone defense, he’s looked especially dangerous. 

Thybulle’s agent, Eric Goodwin, was displeased with his client not being selected last year, saying in a statement to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that it was a “sad reminder that defense no longer has substance in the NBA.” 

In 32 games, Thybulle has posted 6.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per 36 minutes, shooting 26.2 percent from three-point range.

“Just keep playing defense and keep working on your offense,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said last month. “That’s all you can do. I’m not just going to say, ‘Matisse, we need more offense,’ and then he becomes a better offensive player. He’s a second-year player. He’s working on all the weaknesses that we see. For me, he needs to improve being a spot-up jump shooter, a straight-line attack driver, and just really keep it simple. When you can play defense like that, you can (carve) out an amazing career for yourself.”

Maxey, the 21st pick in this year’s draft, has averaged 8.0 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 16.2 minutes per game. He’s been in and out of Rivers’ rotation over the last several weeks. 

His 39-point performance in the seven-man Sixers’ Jan. 9 loss to the Nuggets was a highlight for the 20-year-old. The Kentucky product's energy and enthusiasm haven’t seemed to waver during the ups and downs of an atypical rookie year affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Sixers are optimistic that Maxey can be a better NBA three-point shooter than he was in his one college season, though he’s only made 15 of 55 long-range attempts thus far (27.3 percent). 

“The (veterans) have been great,” Maxey said on Feb. 3. “They stay on me, they really help me. We have a great coaching staff — Coach Doc, Coach Sam (Cassell), Dan (Burke) — all those guys stay on me and I really appreciate them. It just makes it a warm welcome.”

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