Charles Bassey Shines in G-League Debut Teasing Future Big Man Competition

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 07: Shirts line the seats of the Wells Fargo Center for fans before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 07, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Delaware Blue Coats have been off to a red-hot start this year as they currently sit at the top of the East standings with an 11-1 record. The Coats have now won 9 straight games including their most recent 93-91 victory over the Westchester Knicks. This game also saw the debut of Charles Bassey in the G-League who made sure to establish himself.

Charles Bassey:

In a somewhat unique move, Charles Bassey agreed to a three-year partially guaranteed contract after the Sixers drafted him with the 53rd overall pick. It was clear Bassey hoped to make the NBA jump as soon as possible and has been with the Sixers through each game this season. With Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond on the roster, minutes have not been easy to come by. Through the 30 games the Sixers have played so far, Bassey has played a total of just 108 NBA minutes.

With a rare gap in their schedule, the Sixers assigned Charles Bassey to the Blue Coats in an effort to get him some more minutes. The Western Kentucky product continued to build off the promising glimpses he has shown and put out an impressive performance in his G-League debut. In 24 minutes of play, Bassey ended with 16 points, 14 rebounds (7 offensive), and 2 blocks. He also shot 7-14 from the field and flashed the continued development of his outside shot.

Bball Paul

On the other hand, Paul Reed has become quite familiar with playing with the Blue Coats. The reigning G-League MVP has been active this season heading back and forth between the Sixers and their G-League squad. While he has received 142 minutes with the Sixers already this season, Paul Reed also has averaged 20.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks during his time in the G-League.

One interesting storyline to watch as Paul Reed develops is if ends up a better fit as a center or power forward. The DePaul product stands 6’9 and has an extremely unique skillset. The addition of Charles Bassey allowed Reed to spend some time at the power forward position. In last night’s matchup, Reed was a key part of the Blue Coats energy and ended with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Is there room for Bassey and Reed?

Andre Drummond has been solid in his role of the backup center this season, but it is pretty certain he will be seeking a larger deal than the Sixers will be willing to give this offseason. The Sixers have been in search of a long-term backup for Joel Embiid throughout his entire career with Paul Reed and Charles Bassey as the two most likely candidates. Drummond himself was also in the building to cheer on his two young teammates in the Blue Coats latest matchup.

While I have been a major fan of Paul Reed’s game since the Sixers first drafted him, there are some clear categories where Charles Bassey is more advanced in his progression. Bassey has great size, impressive athleticism, showcases tremendous shot-blocking ability, and checks about every box you look for in a backup center. The 21-year-old has an NBA-ready body and has shown some extremely positive signs in his limited minutes.

The part of Paul Reed’s game that has been especially intriguing is his versatility on defense. He is very mobile and cannot be easily exploited on the perimeter by smaller and quicker players. This type of versatility has become increasingly valuable in today’s NBA and is almost essential to postseason success. While his lateral quickness and athleticism are impressive, he lacks the size and strength to make a consistent impact among big men. This is especially evident when attempting to back down in the post and box out on rebounds.

On the bright side, the Sixers have two very promising big man prospects that are both showing signs of growth. It is also worth noting that last year’s second-round pick Filip Petrusev is expected to join the Sixers after remaining overseas for this season. This log jam of young big men will be interesting to watch play out but the progress is certainly exciting. For the moment, both Paul Reed and Charles Bassey should each take pride in their roles of leading the Blue Coats to a thrilling 93-91 victory.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire