As the offseason additions screech to a halt, the Sixers made some moves to round out the bottom of their roster. In a surprising move, they elected to move on from Rayjon Tucker despite recently inking him another two-way contract.
The Sixers were forced to make this move to make room for Grant Riller to fill up the second two-way slot. Tucker was extremely well-liked around the organization but did not take the necessary step forward defensively and as a passer. Riller stands 6’2 and flashes much more shot creation and overall polish in comparison to Rayjon Tucker.
Who is Charles Bassey?
After it was announced that Rayjon Tucker was waived, the consensus seemed to be that second-round pick Charles Bassey would be given the spot. Bassey elected to sit out all of the summer league due to his contract situation as the Sixers did not have a roster spot to offer him. The 53rd overall pick averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game in his final season at Western Kentucky.
It is not uncommon for rookies to sit out of summer league due to contract disputes, but it was disappointing not to see him get on the court. Daryl Morey referenced him being a top-10 high school recruit and his defensive versatility as attractive following the selection in the draft. It is also worth noting that Bassey and Embiid share the same trainer, Drew Hanlen.
Bassey flashed as a defender during his three years in college. He showed to be an elite rim protector and possesses quick feet when switched out to the perimeter. The Nigeria native suffered a fractured left leg which cut his sophomore season short. Bassey came back looking even quicker and more athletic and earned Conference USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors last season. He has shown some growth as a jump shooter and knocked down 31.9% of his three-point attempts on 1.3 attempts per game during his time in college.
With Aaron Henry and Grant Riller taking up both two-way contracts, the Sixers elected to sign Bassey to the full 15-man roster. This spot was created by releasing Anthony Tolliver. The 36-year-old played in just 11 games with the Sixers last season after adding him during the year. He was brought in as the competition for Mike Scott, but neither proved good enough and the Sixers are now free from both.
The Sixers attained the pick to draft Bassey by purchasing the New Orleans Pelicans 53rd overall pick for $2 million prior to the draft. It is unclear if the center was targeted by the Sixers prior to the draft but Bassey said he performed very well in the workout with the team.
Agreeing to a non-guaranteed deal is an interesting move by Bassey. This is certainly looked at as a move in which he bets on himself to show enough this season to earn a larger deal. While this has been successful for players in the past, there are not very many guaranteed minutes for the rookie. Targeting a one-year deal rather than long-term security shows the confidence that Bassey has in himself.
The Sixers have clearly shown to have some faith in Bassey by signing him to a contract in this fashion. By sitting out all of the summer league, it would seem to indicate there was some sort of behind-the-scenes contract negotiations ongoing since the draft occurred. It is worth noting that fellow second-round pick Filip Petrusev, who was picked 3 places earlier, will be staying in Europe for another season. Bassey will join the rest of the Sixers for training camp on September 28th.
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