Philadelphia 76ers

Who is Charles Bassey? Does He Fit Sixers Long-term Plans?

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The Sixers were blown out by the Utah Jazz Tuesday night as the team remained undermanned. One bright spot however was the play of Charles Bassey.

With Andre Drummond struggling as the starting center and the small-ball lineup getting killed on the glass by Rudy Gobert, Doc Rivers elected to go another direction with his rotation of big men. Calling on Charles Bassey to enter the game, the Sixers gave a peek into what they have with the 21-year-old who is also competing to be a part of the Sixers’ long-term developmental plans.

In nine minutes of play, Bassey scored five points and four rebounds. He also tallied one block and shot 2-2 from the field. It is impossible to make any sort of conclusion in such limited minutes, but he flashes long-term NBA potential. The Western Kentucky product stands 6’11 with a 7’3 wingspan. His movement looks fluid, and he brings energy during his minutes on the court.

Sixers Draft Bassey

The Sixers drafted Charles Bassey this year with the 53rd overall pick. This draft pick was attained by Daryl Morey on draft day when the Sixers sent the Pelicans $2 million in cash consideration in exchange for the pick. The Sixers clearly prioritized targeting long-term backup options for Joel Embiid in recent drafts, and the addition of Bassey is further evidence of this.

Despite playing at a lesser-known college for basketball, Bassey made his case why he deserved an NBA opportunity during his three years at Western Kentucky. He suffered a tibial plateau fracture during his sophomore season, which led to a nine-month rehab and extended his time at college. Bassey went through extensive rehab in order to return for his junior season and ended up coming back stronger than ever.

In his final year at Western Kentucky, Bassey averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. In addition to his post ability and impressive rim defense, Bassey also flashed his perimeter potential. The near 7-footer shot 30.5% on 2.1 attempts from beyond the arc during his final season.

This development should be no surprise as Charles Bassey was a well-regarded talent since his high school days. The Nigerian big man was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and at one time ranked the number six prospect in the country.

Future Outlook

At this point in his NBA career, Charles Bassey has played just 25 minutes per game over the course of 6 games. It will be difficult to carve out reliable minutes given the presence of Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, and Paul Reed. From Bassey’s perspective, it should be a huge boost of confidence to be given a chance in the matchup with the Jazz.

Doc Rivers spoke glowingly of the performance of Bassey after the blowout loss last night. Rivers referred to him as “the best of the young guys (last night)” and went on the glow about his advanced basketball IQ. As Doc put it, “He knows the coverages and stuff already, and that’s really impressive for a young guy.” As was evidence of the game, Rivers alluded to the early struggles of Andre Drummond for giving Bassey the opportunity.

There was some hold-up to Bassey joining the Sixers following the draft due to some contractual issues. He ultimately agreed to a partially guaranteed three-year deal following a two-month negotiating period. This first year of the contract is fully guaranteed, with partial guarantees on the second year and the third season entirely nonguaranteed.

This is not quite the norm for most rookie deals, but it landed Bassey a full NBA deal which is not often the case for second-rounders. It speaks to the confidence Bassey has in himself, and he will be a player to watch if he can carve out a role moving forward.

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Lead Sixers Writer for Philly Sports Network and Co-host of the Pick Swap Podcast. Trust the Process

Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod

Email: sean.barnard17@gmail.com

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